75.: malthus to ricardo1[Reply to 74.—Answered by 76] - 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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malthus to ricardo
[Reply to 74.—Answered by 76]
E I Coll Feby 12. 1815
My dear Sir,
I am much obliged to you for the attention you have paid to my Essay, and shall be very happy to discuss with you the points on which we differ. Could not you pay us a visit at the College for a day or two? We shall be most happy to see you whenever you can come. Will next friday or saturday suit you?
If I had treated the subject as you propose, I think I should have been too much detained by the question of profits, about which we differ, and which certainly deserves a separate discussion. I am rather surprised that you do not think that improvements in the practice of agriculture and in the implements of husbandry affect rents. While they are confined to a few and during the current leases, the advantage of them must of course go to the farmers. But afterwards they appear to me to affect rents almost exclusively. This has been remarkably the case in Scotland.
Rents are undoubtedly a part of the wealth already created, but they are not on that account less a creation. A man hires an instrument of me for 20 years, from the use of which with the assistance of his capital he makes fair and ample profits. But at the end of the 20 years my instrument is worth double what it was before. Is not this a creation of value which would not have taken place, if the same capital had been employed in commerce or manufactures? It is true that during the time of his lease the farmer enjoyed the benefit of this additional value of the instrument in the shape of profits; but if these high profits were to continue to the farmer after the time of his lease, they would be property, and totally of a different nature and character from the profits of those trades where the competition is free. Many of the Scotch farmers during the latter part of their long leases some few years ago, made I dare say above thirty per cent; but surely this could not be considered as the natural profits of stock, and when the machines were returned to their owners very much increased in value, it could hardly be said to be at the expence of the general profits of stock, which could not be much influenced by these particular instances confined to particular spots. Profits naturally find a level, and when the benefits of a particular employment of capital continue much greater than usual, either monopoly or rent must be concerned.
I shall like much to see your written opinions on the influence of taxation upon cultivation. You say very justly that it sometimes tends to clear up these matters, to put money out of the question. Upon this plan I would ask whether a man who was going to take some poor land into cultivation, might not be at once deterred from it, if for every six quarters of corn which he raised from it he was obliged to pay one for the support of the state. If the land were very poor the remainder might not be sufficient to support the labourers upon it, or pay the expences of cultivation.
With regard to the tax being thrown off on the Landlord I did not certainly express myself as I meant. I intended to alter it before I left Town but forgot it. It is now corrected. I think however there are often cases where taxes are thrown off on the landlord, and I meant to say that those which had not already been thrown off on the consumer would then be thrown off on the landlord.
I find that I paid for two years of Wettenhalls lists, last February. I think there can be only one due now.
I hope Mrs. Ricardo is quite well. Mrs. M desires to be kindly remembered.
T R Malthus
What do you say to the Appendix? I fear the Rents is too abstruse.