82.: malthus to ricardo2[Reply to 81.—Answered by 83] - 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 81.—Answered by 83]
E I Coll March 15. 1815
My dear Sir,
You may rely upon it that if I make any remarks upon your publication, they will [be] written in that spirit of respect and friendship which I shall always feel for you; but to say the truth I have been so much interrupted lately, that I do not know when I shall have time to do what I intend.
In what you have said in answer to my statement, I think you have omitted a most important consideration. You seem to forget what I think you had formerly allowed, that it is only the last 500000 quarters of corn that have been added to the mass, which require for their production a greater quantity of capital. You distinctly allow that if no more labour and capital be employed, the productive power of that labour and capital, or the surplus of rents and profits, will increase, owing to an increase in the relative price of corn. Consequently when a rise in the price of corn takes place from an increasing population, or restrictions upon importation, all the capital previously employed upon the land will become more productive, and it is only the new capital that will be less so; that is you will have the capital which produces the previous ten millions of quarters of wheat, yield a greater material surplus, while it is only the last additions to the mass which require more labour. And even these last additions will require no more labour in proportion to the value of the produce than the last 500000 quarters of the ten millions did before the rise of price. Under these circumstances it is quite clear to me that a rise in the relative value of corn, will occasion the whole mass of corn to be raised at a less cornexpenditure; and consequently will leave a larger surplus for the maintenance and encouragement of the mercantile and manufacturing classes. This, if true, is a most important principle and deserves to be thoroughly considered.
Observe, that, if poor land be brought under cultivation merely by the fall of profits as in your table, this effect of course will not follow, and in this case indeed corn will not necessarily rise, although there will be a rise of rents. But if poor land be brought under cultivation by a rise of prices as has been the case during the last 20 years, it appears to me that the whole capital on the land must have become more and more productive. This seems to be confirmed by the circumstance of a much smaller proportion of the population being employed on the land than formerly. Pray tell me where you think I am wrong. The conclusion half startles me. If I am right it will establish the effect of the high price of corn on home demand. I am much obliged to you for Lord Lauderdale. Mrs. Malthus desires to be remembered to Mrs. Ricardo.
Ever truly Yours
T R Malthus