203.: trower to ricardo1[Reply to 201.—Answered by 205] - 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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trower to ricardo
[Reply to 201.—Answered by 205]
Unsted Wood—Godalming Feb. 9—1817.
I observe Mr. Rose has moved for leave to bring in his Bill for the protection of Provident Institutions. I shall therefore be very much obliged to you to ascertain and let me know, whether this Bill is the same as that he introduced last year; if not the same, in what respect it differs, and particularly with regard to the clause touching Parish Relief—You, and I do not differ at all with respect to the grievous tendency of the poor laws, and to the necessity of making them give way to a better system. The only question is how can this important alteration be most easily and effectually accomplished? I am one, who looks to the Institution of Provident Funds as facilitating in a very considerable degree this great object; as calculated to diminish to no small extent, the quantum of evil which it is to be feared must accompany this alteration— I am therefore anxious to extend these Institutions throughout the Country. This can only be achieved by holding out inducements to the poor to become depositors therein. And the only reason why I am anxious for the clause enabling relief to be granted to depositors, if required and under certain restrictions, is that I consider it calculated to afford great encouragement to the poor, to save their money, and so dispose of it.
I contend, that not one shilling will be added thereby to the poor rates; but, on the contrary, that it will tend considerably to their diminution—Without it, your Institutions will do nothing, as far as the poor are concerned; they may go on receiving the savings of servants, and of people not coming within the scope of the poor laws, but they will rank among their numbers few, if any of the laboring classes. If these latter become depositors the rates must be diminished, to a certain extent; if they do not, these rates will go on encreasing in spite of your provident Institutions. But this is not all— I contend further, that in point of fact you are giving up nothing. For it is not probable, that Depositors will be reduced to the necessity of asking the proffered relief. The thrifty man is not likely to become burthensome to his Country—and none but thrifty men will belong to these Institutions. It is however one of the strongest arguments in favor of these Institutions, that if properly regulated, and encouraged, they are calculated to make thrifty men, to convert the thoughtless spendthrift into the cautious and prudent economist. In my last letter I never intended to object to the single man’s receiving more than sufficient for his immediate necessities; quite the contrary—his so doing is the foundation upon which these Institutions are built for it is from that class of people only, that we can expect to derive Depositors—I only wish therefore to give these men an assurance that they are accumulating, not for the purpose of saving the money of their richer neighbours, but for their own benefit. For the former object you will never succeed in urging them to do any thing, for the latter you may induce to perform every thing—
Have you seen Dr. Haygarths and Mr. Bowles pamphlets on Provident Institutions. Is there any thing new in them.
I was very sorry I could not contrive to pass a few hours with you whilst I was in London but Mrs. Trower was then far from well, and I hurried home, now I am happy to say she is much better.—
Pray make our kind compliments to Mrs. Ricardo and family and believe me
Yrs very truly