Front Page Titles (by Subject) 115.: grenfell to ricardo1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 6 Letters 1810-1815
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115.: grenfell to ricardo1 - 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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grenfell to ricardo1
Spring Garden Friday 8 Sept: 1815
My dear Sir
I have received your Letter of the 2d. and all my Papers safely returned. I find too my Allardyce here—And my Bookseller has, after much difficulty, he says, found another Copy for you—which he has sent to me—and which I have dispatched to your House in Town—from whence you may order it into the Country, if you desire to have it before you come to Town.
The old Duty on £1- Notes was 4d and on £2 Notes—8d The new Duty - - 5 – – 10 in other words the old Duty was at the rate of 4d in the £1- the new - - at the rate of 5d - -
The next Class comprizes Notes above £2—and not exceeding £5. and the old Duty hereon was 1/- the new 1/3.
Notes therefore of £3- or £4- would be subject to the same Stamp Duty as Notes of £5- that is 1/ for old—1/3 for new Duty—But in point of Fact neither the Bank of Eng. nor private Bankers (so far [as]2 I have been informed) have ever issued Notes of £3- or of £4-
If £20000 (the Composition of 1799 for Notes above £2) was admitted as a fair and just equivalent for Notes of this Class upon the then Circulation, the Duty of 1804 being 50 p Ct would necessarily have carried that Composition to £30,000—And again the Duty of 1808 being 33 p Ct. would have carried £30000- to £40,000.—even supposing the Circulation of Notes of this Class not to have increased— (an Increase however of some millions took place in point of Fact)—Observe this applies only to Notes of £5- and upwards—and excludes all Duty on Notes under £5-
Instead however of the Bank paying £40000—for their Notes of £5 and upwards—and a fair Composition for Notes of the Class under £5 (which Class is more productive of Duty than all the other Classes together) they have paid since 1808 Only £42000 for all their Notes—!
By this shameful neglect on the part of Government—in 1804—and 1808—the public Revenue has suffered and the Bank pocketted £535.000!
The Composition fixed by the Act of last Session1 is upon this principle—that upon the Average Circulation of three preceding years, they are to pay at the rate of £3500 million —without reference to the Classes or Value of the Notes of which that aggregate Circulation may consist. The Bank produced therefore during the Discussion, the enclosed Account2 —making an average of 25.102.600. and upon this average they will pay this year about £87,500.
I contended that they ought to pay upon their average Circulation of the last Year—which would have made the Composition £99572—exclusive of their Bank Post Bills, but I was beat (for I divided the House upon it) in a very thin House, by a small Majority.3
Next year the average will be taken upon 3 Years including this Year, and the Duty will of course vary annually1 —
Have I made the subject intelligible to you?
I am ever My dear Sir Most truly Yours
David Ricardo Esq
[1 ]MS in R.P.
[2 ]Omitted in MS.
[1 ]The Stamp Duties Act of 1815 (55 Geo. III, c. 184).
[2 ]‘An Account of the Average Amount of Bank Notes in Circulation, including Bank Post Bills; for the Three Years ending the 5th April 1808, and for the Three Years ending the 5th April 1815’; ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 13 June 1815. (Parliamentary Papers, 1814–15, vol. x.)
[3 ]See debate on 29 June 1815, in Hansard, XXXI, 1057 ff.
[1 ]Ricardo uses the last three paragraphs in Economical Currency, above, IV, 95.