Front Page Titles (by Subject) 71.: ricardo to say2 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815
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71.: ricardo to say2 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815.
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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 say2
Gatcomb Park Minchinhampton 24th. Decr. 1814
The plan for the currency of France which you have sent me to look over3 differs in no very essential point from that which I recommended for our Bank of England,4 excepting that you propose Government to be the issuers, and to derive the advantages from the substitution of paper for metallic money.
In all countries, I should think, there exists a repugnance to entrust to Government the power of issuing paper money, and when we consider that perhaps in no instance they have not abused such a power, it is not wonderful that such fears are prevalent. I am however so fully persuaded that the value of a currency depends on its quantity, and if your plan is adhered to there is such security against the quantity becoming excessive, that I cannot doubt of its success. My only doubt is whether Government will under all temptations rigidly abide by its own rules.
In justice the public ought to derive the benefits which result from the substitution of a paper for a more valuable currency, but it has hitherto been given to a company of Bankers or merchants because they were more under the controul of authority and could not with impunity use so formidable an engine to the injury of the public. At no time has the theory of money been so well understood as at present, and if the practice is conformable to it every thing respecting paper money will go on well.
In the last paragraph you have noticed a danger against which there can be no complete guard. It is a danger inherent in the Banking system and even a circulation of metallic money, only, is not wholly exempt from it.
I am sorry that you are obliged to leave this country so soon. I hoped to have had the pleasure of seeing you in London before your departure.
I hope you will have the satisfaction of witnessing the abolition of all those laws which so materially interfere with the prosperity of nations, the evils of which your writings have so ably disclosed.
With best wishes for your happiness
I am Dear Sir Your obedt. humble Servant
[2 ]Addressed: ‘J. B. Say Esqr / 21 Nassau Street/Middlesex Hospital/ London’.
[3 ]Say had been commissioned by the French Government to study economic conditions in England and bring back such information as might find useful application in France. (See ‘Notice sur J.-B Say’, in his (Œuvres diverses, p. xi.) The currency plan may have been part of his report, which was not published.
[4 ]The ingot plan, outlined in the Appendix (1811) to the High Price of Bullion.