Front Page Titles (by Subject) 202.: ricardo to malthus1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 7 Letters 1816-1818
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202.: ricardo to malthus1 - 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 malthus1
My dear Sir
I am not in the least acquainted with the subject on which your papers2 treat, but that is no reason why I should not mention what appears to me defective. In page 8 you add ⅙ to the births for probable omissions and for deaths, but you do not tell your reader why these proportions are taken rather than ¼ or ⅓, nor can I discover on what grounds those numbers are chosen.1
You sometimes take averages from the known facts of certain years, but your averages are formed on an arithmetical ratio while your application is to a geometrical series. I submit whether this is correct.
If as you say in page 14 births are to burials as 47 to 30 and the mortality as 1 to 47 the addition to the population would be little more than instead of for out of every 1410 persons 30 would die and 47 be born and consequently there would be an increase of 17, but 1410 divided by 17 is 82.94 or 83 nearly, and therefore if 1410 gives an increase of 17 —9,287,000 will give an increase of 111,970 or 1,119,700 in ten years which will raise the population
In Page 16 the mortality is supposed to be as before 1 in 47 and the births to the population as 1 to 29½, and the population to be 9,287,000.—This latter sum divided by 29½ gives 314,813 the annual number of births, and divided by 47 gives 197595 the annual number of deaths, deduct one
I have marked in pages 35 and 36 some very trifling errors. These are all I can discover with the facts which are before me.—
Ever truly Yrs.
8 Feb 1817
[1 ]Addressed: ‘For / The Revd. T.R Malthus’—not passed through the post, being probably enclosed with Malthus’s papers.
[2 ]The MS or a proof of Additions to the Fourth and Former Editions of An Essay on the Principle of Population, &c. &c., London, Murray, 1817. Ricardo’s page-references do not agree with the pagination either of the separately published Additions or of vol. ii of the Essay, 5th ed., 1817.
[1 ]On p. 17 of Additions, Malthus gives reason for these estimates.