100.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 99.—Answered by 101] - 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 malthus
[Reply to 99.—Answered by 101]
Upper Brook Street 27th. June 1815
My dear Sir
I have been for two or three days at Tunbridge Wells, and have been agreeably surprised to day on my arrival in London, to hear of the great events which are taking place in France, in consequence of the great victory obtained by the Duke of Wellington and his brave army over Bonaparte. With the deposition of Bonaparte I hope there may be no other obstacles to peace, and that we may at length be rewarded for the blood and treasure which we have expended with a long period of tranquility,—which I have no doubt will also prove a long period of prosperity. I think with Mr. Whitbread that great credit is due to ministers for the energy which they have displayed in the prosecution of this contest. Having determined on war their preparations have been on such a scale as to give from the commencement the best hopes of success, and we appear at last to have adopted the wise policy of making one grand effort in preference to a series of puny efforts each just sufficient to keep the contest alive without making the least advance to its ultimate object.
The effect on the price of Omnium has been no more than what might have been expected. I am sorry that you have not profited by the rise.—As for myself I have all my stock, by which I mean I have all my money invested in Stock, and this is as great an advantage as ever I expect or wish to make by a rise. I have been a considerable gainer by the loan; in the first place by replacing the stock which I had sold before the contract with the minister at a much lower price, and secondly by a moderate gain on such part of the loan as I ventured to take over and above my stock. This portion I sold at a premium of from 3 to 5 pct. and I have every reason to be well contented. Perhaps no loan was ever more generally profitable to the Stock Exchange.
Now for a little of our old subject. It appears to me that there are two causes which may cause a rise of prices,—one the depreciation of money, the other the difficulty of producing. The latter can in no case be advantageous to a society.—It is always a sign of prosperity but never the cause of it. Depreciation of money may be beneficial because it generally favours that class who are disposed to accumulate,—but I should say that it augmented riches by diminishing happiness, that it was advantageous only by occasioning a great pressure on the labouring classes and on those who lived on fixed incomes. You I think concur in this opinion for you say that you are convinced that there are unobserved advantages attending the high price of corn and labour “when not arising solely from difficulty of production,” by which I think you imply that no such advantages would attend high prices if attended with difficulty of production.
This opinion is however a little at variance with that which you have long been supporting, for you have said that the high price of corn and labour in this country at this time was an advantage, although it is universally allowed that that high price is mainly owing to difficulty of production. The farmers and shopkeepers may suffer very general distress from a sudden and general fall of prices, but I hold that this would be no criterion by which to judge of the general or permanent prosperity of a country.
The accounts in which I am at present engaged will I fear keep me in London till the very latter end of July. I shall very much regret if you quit Bath without my seeing you.— I quite depended on having a visit from you at Gatcomb this year, and I yet hope that it may be accomplished. I shall certainly leave London the very earliest day possible.
The price of labour in America appears to me enormously high as compared with the price of wheat but we should not fail to remember how very low the exchangeable value of wheat is there and how much of it must be given for the manufactured necessaries and comforts of life. Kind regards to Mrs. Malthus.
Ever truly yours