172.: malthus to ricardo1[Answered by 174] - 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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malthus to ricardo
[Answered by 174]
E I Coll August 6th. 
My dear Sir,
As I came through Town rather sooner than I expected, I was in great hopes of catching you before you set out. I called in Brook Street with that view but found that you had left Town the saturday before. I have been returned now near ten days, and have been busy as usual in College matters—indeed I am drawing up a paper relating to the College, which is to be sent to Mr. Canning who is now related to us in the capacity of President of the Board of Control. This, and other matters have made me lazier than I intended to be in writing, particularly as Mr. G Eckersall had desired me to tell you either personally, or by letter that he had given the orders you wished respecting the Oxford boat, but that Mrs. Hall was a very uncertain person, and could be little depended upon for punctuality unless some flapper were continually at her elbow, in proof of which he had himself waited all the summer for a Canoe which he had ordered, and which had been promised in a very short time, but I believe has not arrived yet. You must take some measures therefore to accelerate the order or probably it may not be executed—perhaps the best way would be, if you are at all in a hurry, for Mr. Hitchin to call there, and chuse some ready made boat, which she will not object to sell during the Oxford vacation. Perhaps however the terrible weather we have had has made you forget all these matters; but we know you are not much afraid of rain, and we may still hope for some tolerable weather in Autumn. Mrs. Malthus and Miss L. Eckersall were very much pleased with their expedition to Easton Gray and Gatcomb; and Miss E with the assistance of David’s horse which she liked much, got home very safely and agreeably on the evening of the day we left you.
I had a letter from Warburton the day before yesterday. I conclude he is by this time in your neighbourhood. If you see him pray thank him for his letter for me, and say how much I regret having missed him, particularly as he is about to be absent for so long a tour as Italy.
By the by the more I think on the subject the more I feel convinced that the rate of the profits of stock depends mainly on the demand and supply of stock compared with the demand and supply of labour, and very little (directly) on facility or difficulty of production, properly so called. By facility or difficulty of production I mean the greater or less quantity of produce that can be obtained by a given quantity of labour, and by no means the quantity of any sort of produce which must be given for labour, which merely expresses the exchangeable value of that produce compared with labour, and has nothing to do with facility or difficulty of production. If a piece of land worked by 10 labourers and producing 110 quarters of corn, should afterwards produce 165 quarters with the same quantity of labour, might not the rate of profits continue the same, and the only difference be that the labourers would be paid 15 quarters instead of ten. Does not the different rate of profit in America and Poland in land of nearly the same quality shew that profits depend on the proportion of capital to labour, and not on facility of production.
I want also much to ask you what are the causes which occasion an increase of demand without a diminution of price, that is, what is the nature of that demand which increases price, and can it be general? I think it can, and that a new value thrown into the market always tends to create such a demand. Mrs M desires to be kindly remd to Mrs. R.
Ever truly Yours,
T R Malthus.