Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter i: Preliminary Observations.—Mr. Bosanquet's Objections to the Conclusions of the Bullion Committee briefly stated. - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 3 Pamphlets and Papers 1809-1811
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chapter i: Preliminary Observations.—Mr. Bosanquet’s Objections to the Conclusions of the Bullion Committee briefly stated. - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 3 Pamphlets and Papers 1809-1811 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 3 Pamphlets and Papers 1809-1811.
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Preliminary Observations.—Mr. Bosanquet’s Objections to the Conclusions of the Bullion Committee briefly stated.
The question concerning the depreciation of our currency has lately assumed peculiar interest, and has excited a degree of attention in the public mind which promises the most happy results. To the Bullion Committee we are already most par ticularly indebted, for a more just exposition of the true principles which should regulate the currency of nations, than has before appeared in any authoritative shape, in this or any other country. It could not, however, be expected that a reform, so important as that which the Committee recommend, could be effected without calling forth the warmest opposition, dictated by the erroneous principles of some, and by the interested views of others. Hitherto this opposition has been attended with the best effects; it has tended to prove more fully the correctness of the principles laid down by the Committee; it has called forth new champions in the field of argument; and discussion has daily produced new converts to the cause of truth. Of all the attacks on the report of the Committee, however, that of Mr. Bosanquet1 has appeared to me the most formidable. He has not, as his predecessors have done, confined himself to declamation alone; and though he dis-claims all reasoning and argument, he has brought forward, what he thought were irrefragable proofs of the discordance of the theory with former practice. It is these proofs which I propose to examine, and am confident that it will be from a deficiency of ability in me, and not from any fault in the principles themselves, if I do not shew that they are wholly unfounded. Mr. Bosanquet commences, by availing himself of the vulgar charge, which has lately been so often countenanced, and in places too high, against theorists. He cautions the public against listening to their speculations before they have submitted them to the test of fact; and he kindly under- takes to be their guide in the examination. If this country had hitherto carried on trade by barter, and it were, for the first time, going to establish a system by which the intervention of money should facilitate the operations of trade, there might be some foundation for calling the principles which might be offered to public attention wholly theoretical; because, however clearly dictated by the experience of the past, their practical effects would not have been witnessed. But, when the principles of a currency, long established, are well understood; when the laws which regulate the variations of the rate of exchange between countries have been known and observed for centuries, can that system be called wholly theoretical which appeals to those principles, and is willing to submit to the test of those laws?
To such an examination the report of the Committee is now submitted, and the public is called upon to believe that a theory which its adversary allows to be unassailable by reasoning and argument, is to be battered down by an appeal to facts. We are told, “that boldly as the principle is asserted, and strongly as reason appears to sanction it, that it is not generally true, and is at variance with fact.”1 This is the test to which I have long wished to see this important question brought. I have long wished that those who refused their assent to principles which experience has appeared to sanction, would either state their own theory as to the cause of the present appearances in the state of our currency, or that they would point out those facts which they considered at variance with that which, from the firmest conviction, I have espoused.
To Mr. Bosanquet, then, I feel considerably obliged. If, as I trust, I shall be able to obviate his objections; to prove them wholly untenable; to convince him that his statements are at variance with fact; that for his supposed proofs he is indebted to the wrong application of a principle, and not to any deficiency in the principle itself:—I shall confidently expect that he will abjure his errors, and become the foremost of our defenders.
Mr. Bosanquet has thus stated1 the principal positions of the Committee, to which he is induced to object:
1st, “That the variations of the exchange with foreign countries can never, for any considerable time, exceed the expense of transporting and insuring the precious metals from one country to the other.
2d, “That the price of Gold Bullion can never exceed the mint price, unless the currency in which it is paid, is depreciated below the value of gold.
3d, “That, so far as any inference is to be drawn from Custom-house returns of exports and imports, the state of the exchanges ought to be peculiarly favourable.
4th, “That the Bank, during the restriction, possesses exclusively the power of limiting the circulation of Bank notes.
5th, “That the circulation of country bank-notes depends upon, and is proportionate to, the issues from the Bank.
Lastly, “That the paper currency is now excessive, and depreciated in comparison with gold, and that the high price of Bullion and low rates of exchange are the consequences as well as the sign of such depreciation.”
These principles being in all essential points the same as those which I have avowed, and on which Mr. Bosanquet has attacked me, to avoid the necessity of speaking at one time of the opinion of the Bullion Committee, and at another of my own, I shall, in the future pages of this work, consider them as the principles of the Bullion Committee only, and shall take occasion to mention any shade of difference that may occur between theirs and mine.
[1 ]Practical Observations on the Report of the Bullion-Committee,by Charles Bosanquet, London, Richardson, 1810.
[1 ]Practical Observations, p. 16. The italics are Ricardo’s.
[1 ]p. 8.