150.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 146 & 148.—Answered by 152] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818.
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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 146 & 148.—Answered by 152]
Gatcomb Park 2 Jany. 1816
My dear Sir
Your two letters have both reached me, and I am very sorry to find that I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you at Gatcomb this vacation.
I left London as you supposed the day after the Bank Court. I should have considered it fortunate if whilst I was there I had met you. My house in Brook Street is not yet in a state to receive us, nor will it be this season, unless we consent to go in it with the walls unpapered and unpainted,— conditions to which we shall agree. It will be we are told in a habitable state by the latter end of the month, at which time we shall probably quit Gatcomb.
As you have not given me the pleasure of your company here, and as I wish to speak to Murray concerning my book, and to consult some Parliamentary papers which I have not got here, I intend taking a trip to town the beginning of next week. Do you think I shall have any chance of meeting you there? Remember that a letter will always find me at or follow me from the Stock Exchange.
It is exceedingly provoking that you should have been so much interrupted by College affairs as not to have made more progress with your new chapters. I shall regret your thinking it necessary to abridge or leave out any thing which you may have to say, connected with the subject,—and particularly if you should so determine because more time will otherwise be required before you can publish. The question of bounties and restrictions is exceedingly important, and unless you have already given your present opinions on that subject elsewhere, or mean to do so, it ought to form part of the present work,—and a little delay in the publication is not very important.
The edition which I have of your work is the first, and it is many years since I read it. When you wrote to me that you were looking over the chapters on the Agricultural and Manufacturing systems, with a view to make some alterations in them, I looked into those chapters and saw a great deal in them which differed from the opinions I have formed on that part of the subject. At your house I observed that in a subsequent edition you had altered some of the passages to which I particularly objected, and in the chapters as you are now writing them it appeared to me that there was only a slight trace of the difference we have often discussed. The general impression which I retain of the book is excellent. The doctrines appeared so clear and so satisfactorily laid down that they excited an interest in me inferior only to that produced by Adam Smith’s celebrated work. I remember mentioning to you, and I believe you told me that you had altered it in the following editions, that I thought you argued in some places as if the poor rates had no effect in increasing the quantity of food to be distributed —that I thought you were bound to admit that the poor laws would increase the demand and consequently the supply. This admission does not weaken the grand point to be proved.
As for the difference between us on Profits of which you speak in your letter, —you have not I think stated it correctly. You say that my opinion is “that General Profits never fall from a general fall of prices compared with labour, but from a general rise of labour compared with prices.” I will not acknowledge this to be my proposition. I think that corn and labour are the variable commodities, and that other things neither rise nor fall but from difficulty or facility of production, or from some cause particularly affecting the value of money,—and that no alteration of price proceeding from these causes affect general profits;— allowing always some effect for cheapness of the raw material.
Mrs. Ricardo joins with me in kind regards to Mrs. Malthus.
Yrs. very truly