Front Page Titles (by Subject) malthus to horner4 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815
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malthus to horner4 - 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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malthus to horner4
E I Coll March 14th 1815
My dear Horner,
Will you have the goodness to allow me to ask you a question in political economy, on which I should very much like to have your opinion.
On the supposition which is generally allowed, that in a rich and progressive country, corn naturally rises compared with manufactured and foreign commodities, will it not follow that, as the real capital of the farmer which is advanced does not consist merely in raw produce, but in ploughs waggons threshing machines &c: and in the tea sugar clothes &c: &c: used by his labourers, if with a less quantity of raw produce he can purchase the same quantity of these commodities, a greater quantity of raw produce will remain for the farmer and landlord, and afford a greater surplus from the land for the maintainance and encouragement of the manufacturing and mercantile classes.
The Economists calculate that one third of the raw produce obtained by the farmer is advanced to the steril classes. On this supposition let the produce of an acre be represented by 8 of which ¼ goes to the landlord, and ¾ are received by the farmer, that is, 2 go to the landlord, and 6 to the farmer, out of which latter sum the farmer expends one third or 2 in the commodities above mentioned. The farmer therefore retains 4 for his raw produce-expenditure, and profits; that is, he retains the value of the half of the gross produce.
Let us now suppose the price of corn to double, while the price of manufactured and foreign commodities rises only one fourth. The whole produce will then be represented by 16 of which ¼, as before, or 4, go to the land and only 2½ instead of 4 go to the expenditure in manufactured and foreign commodities; the consequence of which will be, that 9½ out of 16 will remain to the farmer instead of 4 out of 8, that is about ⅗ instead of ½. Out of this increased produce the farmer will either receive proportionably in[creased]1 profits, or will divide them with the l[andlord] and thus a rise in the price of [corn] appears to increase the productiveness of all the capital previously employed on the land.
This proposition appears to me to involve consequences so very important with regard to home demand, that I should like much to know whether you see any error in the premises or conclusion.
The fault of Mr Ricardo’s table2 which is curious, is that the advances of the farmer instead of being calculated in corn, should be calculated either in the actual materials of which the capital consists, or in money which is the best representative of a variety of commodities. The view I have taken of the subject would greatly alter his conclusions.
I was much pleased with your speech the other night on the Bank Restriction. I can quite go with you. I remain firm in my opinion as to the Policy of some Restrictions1 , but tho I would not yield to the mob, I should be disposed to yeild to the prodigious weight of Petitions, and let the people have their way. What an enterprise of Bonaparte.2
Ever truly Yours
T R Malthus]
[4 ]Addressed: ‘F. Horner Esqr. M.P. / Lincoln’s Inn. / London.’
[1 ]MS torn: the missing words are supplied in pencil (? by Leonard Horner).
[2 ]In Essay on Profits, above, IV,17.
[1 ]On the importation of corn.
[2 ]Cp. below, p. 194, n. 2.