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4.: ricardo to george cumberland 1 - 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 george cumberland 1
Widcomb House Bath 30 Jany 1816
I received your letter dated from Culver Street, which I conclude is Culver Street Bristol, this day, it having been sent after me from Gatcomb Park. Had I known of your near connection with Mr. Sidney Cumberland, or of your brother’s illness I should certainly not have addressed my last letter to him—my complaint would naturally have been made to you. The age of the young woman, after which you enquire, is not known to me, I should guess it to be about 20. She lived with us but a few months—she came to our place from Burford where I believe she was born, and in the neighbourhood of which she had been in service. Mrs. Ricardo had a good character with her, which she never forfeited while with us, and her father when he came over to Gatcomb, spoke of her behaviour as being so correct as to diminish his apprehensions from her mysterious absence. The conduct which she has lately pursued convinces me that we must have formed too favorable an estimate of her character, or notwithstanding her known credulity she would not have been prevailed upon to do as she has done by a perfect stranger.
With respect to her being so easily persuaded to go to London I have to observe that Mrs. Ricardo gave her warning because her abilities were not equal to the situation she filled, and to suit Mrs. Ricardo’s convenience, and to which she did not object, she was paid her months wages and sent away about a week after receiving warning. Her father was not aware of this and did not therefore expect her home. She felt some reluctance against returning to Burford as the loss of her place might have been considered, being so sudden, as the evidence of some fault. She often expressed a strong desire to get a place in London and said she would go there if she had one friend or acquaintance. This information I have had from my servants. She left our house however with the declared intention of going to Burford and had engaged to go with the coach no further than to Lechlade. I also understand that both she and your son rode outside the coach till they arrived at Lechlade, when she expressed her determination to go on to London and then they got inside.
The worst feature in the conduct of your son appears to be his not sending her back to her relations, or providing her with a more reputable residence after they arrived together in London. What justification can he offer for answering my letter of enquiry, when I had obtained his direction, by telling me that the girl was living as housemaid in Whitcomb Street, which he found out he said by making further enquiries after ascertaining that she was not at Mrs. Card’s in Pall Mall where she told him in the coach she was going. Under strong feelings of indignation for such conduct I wrote to your son, and used language which under other circumstances might be improper. On receiving my letter he addressed himself to my brother, a most respectable man, and presumed to call him out for writing information to me which had called forth the expressions at which he took offence. He added that I should be called upon to retract and apologize for those expressions or I too should be called upon to give him the satisfaction of a gentleman.1 My brother with a forbearance very ill deserved wrote to him and told him that if he had any complaint to make of me it was to me he must apply—that he was not a party concerned and was no way accountable to him for what passed in a private correspondence with his brother. He nevertheless communicated to him the information he had received in consequence of enquiries instituted at my request. Your son instead of applying to the respectable ladies who had given him that information,—instead of attempting to disprove to my brother, who had given him no offence the testimony which was so injurious to his fame, then wrote to me, not sending me indeed the challenge with which I had been threatened but to tell me that he could not find words sufficiently strong to express the contempt he held me in—and if he did not consider my character unworthy of it he could enter into explanations which would prove my brother to be a man capable of the grossest falsehoods, and that what he did for the girl so far from reflecting dishonor on him ought to be considered by those who have any2 friendship for her as an act of generosity, and he concludes by calling my brother: a person as void of manly courage as he is of common principles of honor.—Instead of attempting to depreciate the characters of those who are invulnerable to his or any other persons assaults he woud have been better employd in defending his own.—Why did he withhold this explanation which he says he cd. give of his conduct? If he thought my brr. calumniated him and that I had used the strong language I did in consequence of believing his information, he might be sure that I would offer any reparation for the injustice I had been guilty of toward him if it had been proved such.—On the other hand if I without any grounds had insulted him that could be no reason why he should not justify his fame to my brother who in that case could have given him no offence.—Happily Sir, my character is too well established to need the favorable testimony of Mr. Sydney Cumberland; and he may possibly find that that character is sufficiently respectable to procure me an introduction to those whose reproofs may have some influence on his future prospects.—
From the tenour of yr. letter I am pleased to observe that he will have no encouragement from you for his very incorrect conduct, as the judgement you have pass’d upon it supposing the facts to be true perfectly coincides with the opinion I have formd—
I leave Bath for Gatcomb tomorrow and on Monday next I quit the country for some months which I shall pass in London.—My direction in Town, if you should have occasion to write to me is No. 56. Upper Brook St. Grosvenor Square—
Yr. Obedt. Servant
[1 ]The first part of the MS is a draft in Ricardo’s handwriting, the second part a copy in another hand.
[1 ]This sentence is ins.
[2 ]Here ends the part in Ricardo’s handwriting.