Ricardo, David, 1772-1823

Alternative names
Birth 1772-04-19
Death 1823-09-11

Biographical notes:


From the description of Letter of David Ricardo, 1819. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79449517

English economist.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Gatcomb[e] Park, to "Dear Sir,", 1821 Dec. 13. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270617363

David Ricardo, 1772-1823, was born in London, the third son of a Portuguese Jewish family that had moved to London from Amsterdam. After attending school in London, Ricardo was sent to Amsterdam for two years, probably to continue his education at the Talmud Tora. On his return to London he was educated under private instruction until his father took him into his business on the Stock Exchange. He showed great talent on the Stock Exchange and when his marriage to Priscilla Wilkinson caused a rift with his family and a severance from the family business, many members of the Stock Exchange promised him their support. Ricardo became a very successful contractor, bidding on behalf of the Stock Exchange for the successive government loans issued to finance the Napoleonic War. This culminated in a final loan of 36 million four days before the battle of Waterloo. From 1814, Ricardo progressively retired from his business, and in 1819 he entered the House of Commons as a member for Portarlington. His first published writing on economics appeared in 1809, and consists of three letters to the Morning Chronicle on the price of gold. His first pamphlet, 'The High Price of Bullion', was published in 1810, and it was at this time that his correspondence with James Mill commenced. His correspondence with Malthus starts in 1811. Ricardo published a number of pamphlets between 1811 and 1816, and 'Principles of Political Economy' in 1817. He continued to write and publish pamphlets to the end of his life.

From the guide to the RICARDO, David, 1772-1823, economist, 1819-1843, (British Library of Political and Economic Science)

David Ricardo (1772-1823), MP and economist, was educated partly in England, and during his twelfth and thirteenth years at an uncle's in Holland, the land of his father. He had no classical training, and was employed in his father's business at the age of 14. He married in 1793, and proceeded to set up in business for himself, making a fortune and acquiring a high reputation. Ricardo was interested in scientific movements, and was one of the original members of the Geological Society, founded in 1807. His writing on the state of currency in 1809 helped his growing reputation as an authority on economics, and led to warm friendships with Thomas Malthus and James Mill. Later pamphlets established Ricardo as a leading figure on economical questions. He published his main work, 'Principles of Political Economy and Taxation' in 1817. He bought the estate of Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire in 1813, and retired from business in the following year. In 1819 he became the Member of Parliament for the Irish borough of Portarlington, and held the seat until his death.

From the guide to the David Ricardo: Correspondence and Papers, c.1794-1976, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)


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