110.: malthus to ricardo1[Reply to 103.—Answered by 116] - 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 103.—Answered by 116]
E I Coll August 26th 1815
My dear Sir
I called at your house in Brook Street as I passed thro Town, and was sorry to find that you had left it the day before. Our vacation is so early that I fear we shall not easily catch you at Gatcomb; but we will still hope for better success at some future time, when the war is over, and you are not detained in Town by so tremendous a loan. I don’t wonder that the business relating to it pursued you even into the country. As it is now over, however, what say you to reviewing Mr. Say. I know he will be disappointed if he does not get a place in the Edinburgh and unless you do it I fear it will not be done.
I am quite concerned to hear that David’s health has been in so uncomfortable a state. Whishaw was here last saturday and told me that you had consulted him about a Tutor. I am very glad to find that you have got one that is likely to suit you.
I hear there is great scarcity of money in Town and the stocks seem to shew it. With Bonaparte at St Helena I think they ought to be higher, but I suppose people are of opinion that there is no prospect of a speedy and satisfactory settlement of affairs in France—indeed it is very difficult to see how the matter can be arranged so as to produce the desireable object of peace and quiet. I fear it must be allowed that we have not kept our pledge, and that we are in the most direct manner interfering in the domestic concerns of France.
I do not, I confess, see how it is possible to resist the conclusion, that, if the nominal price of your corn and labour be double that of surrounding nations, in every million’s worth of goods you exchange, or every million of subsidy you grant, you are able to command twice as much foreign labour, as if your corn and labour were of the same price with your neighbour’s. But of course this state of things is not affected by the mere difficulty of producing corn. I do not indeed see how it is possible that the necessity of much more labour in the production of corn can ever have the effect of filling a country with the precious metals, and of enabling it to circulate all its commodities at a high price. A high permanent price of corn and labour compared with other countries, can only be caused in my opinion by great facility of production in manufactures, or in some peculiar natural products, and is therefore really the consequence of facility, rather than of difficulty of production. Without some such peculiar advantages, difficulty of production, or taxes on labour, would not permanently raise prices, relatively to other countries. In our own case, I conceive that the restrictions upon importation have increased in a slight, but only in a slight degree the difficulty of producing corn, while by preventing the home competition from lowering to a very much greater extent the prices of our exportable commodities, it has rendered our manufacturing labour vastly more productive than it would have been otherwise, and greatly overbalanced the trifling disadvantage that has been felt in a very slight increase of the difficulty of raising corn. You see therefore that I attribute the power of granting subsidies in this [case] to a general facility rather than difficulty of production; and I am very far from agreeing with you in thinking, that high relative prices, with regard to other countries arise solely from the real difficulty of production. They may indeed, and do arise from the high price of the materials of capital, but by no means always from the greater quantity of labour required. In a country without land what determines the profits of stock. The bell rings
truly Yours in great haste
T R Malthus.