130.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 128 & 129.—Answered by 137] - 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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ricardo to malthus
[Reply to 128 & 129.—Answered by 137]
London 17 Octr. 1815
My dear Sir
Mrs. Ricardo and I are sorry that Mrs. Malthus will be prevented from accompanying you when you pay us a visit at Gatcomb. We should have been very happy to have shewn her some of the beauties of our county. When you come perhaps you will bring your gun with you.—Though I am no sportsman myself I will endeavour to procure you the best sport that my influence can command.
I am very much obliged to you for the attention which you have given to my MS. I am fully aware of the deficiency in the style and arrangement;—those are faults which I shall never conquer; I will however use my best endeavors to elevate it to the very low standard to which you compare it. It would be unpardonable to write worse with more practice.
I expected that you would not quite agree with my plan of abolishing the metals from circulation, but the grounds on which you object to it may I think be answered, and then your objections would I hope be removed. You fear that without a metallic circulation we could not on an emergency supply a large sum of bullion for the exigencies of the state. The fact is however against you for we have supplied large sums when the metals have been absolutely banished from circulation. This has been the case during the whole Peninsular war. If indeed on my system the Bank could keep a less quantity of bullion in their coffers to answer the demands of the public, the objection would be well founded, but the only difference would be that in one case their hoards would consist wholly of coined gold and silver,—in the other they would consist of the uncoined metals,—but on both systems, if the Bank paid their notes on demand, the currency must be equally reduced in quantity if gold and silver should become more valuable. That argument then may be used against a currency convertible at all, into specie or bullion, but does not apply to one more than the other. I think with you that on the whole silver would be a better standard than gold, particularly if paper only were used. All objections against its greater bulk would be removed.
I find I did misapprehend your illustration, respecting profits, from Othaeite; but our difference is still very serious. I most distinctly allow that any causes which tend to make capital less in demand will lower profits, but I contend that there are no causes which will for any length of time make capital less in demand, however abundant it may become, but a comparatively high price of food and labour;—that profits do not necessarily fall with the increase of the quantity of capital because the demand for capital is infinite and is governed by the same law as population itself. They are both checked by the rise in the price of food, and the consequent increase in the value of labour. If there were no such rise what could prevent population and capital from increasing without limit? I acknowledge the effects of the great principle of supply and demand in every instance, but in this it appears to me that the demand will enlarge at the same rate as the supply, if there be no difficulty on the score of food and raw produce.
Fertility is as you justly observe the essence of high rents, and low rents are the necessary result of barrenness however scarce corn may be. I agree with you too that in a country limited to 100 000 acres all of the richest conceivable quantity , yet peopled and capital’d up to the utmost limits of its produce, the profits of stock and the wages of labour would both be very low, although the quantity of produce yielded by a given capital including rent might be 100 pct.,—but I ask if by any miracle the produce of that land could at once be doubled would rents then continue as high as before, or could they possibly rise? We are speaking of the immediate not the ultimate effects. The improvements in skill and machinery may in 1000 years go to the Landlord but for 900 they will remain with the tenant.
Yrs. very truly
I have been so busy and am yet so busy that I cannot return to Gatcomb till friday.