225.: malthus to ricardo1[Reply to 222.—Answered by 228] - 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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malthus to ricardo
[Reply to 222.—Answered by 228]
E I Coll August 17th 1817
My dear Sir,
I returned later from my Tour in Ireland than I expected; and the accumulated business I found on my return, together with an accidental interruption last friday, and the want of a post the following day, have delayed my answer to your kind letter longer than I intended.
I arrived in Town on the fourth of August, and was in great hopes of finding you in Brook Street as I understood that you had been much pleased with your tour, and thought it probable therefore, that you might have delayed your return longer than you intended. I just caught Whishaw however before he started, and he told me that you had left London for Gatcomb above a week. I was quite glad to hear from Whishaw both while I was in Ireland and after my return, that you were much pleased with your tour in Flanders. I should certainly have liked much to be with you, though I have been both gratified and instructed by my tour in Ireland. Though the distress was certainly great, it was I think on the whole less than I expected, and though it necessarily increased the number of beggars it did not essentially interfere with the comfort or safety of our travels, which answered extremely well. Our head quarters were at Mr. Wynne’s in Westmeath, but we made a tour in the South, through Kings County, Queens County, Tipperary, Waterford, Kerry, and back by Limerick. Through most of this country, great marks of improvement were observable, though its progress had received a severe check during the last two years, the effect of which was peculiarly to aggravate the predominant evil of Ireland, namely a population greatly in excess above the demand for labour, though in general not much in excess above the means of subsistence on account of the rapidity with which potatoes have increased under a system of cultivating them on very small properties rather with a view to support than sale. The Land in Ireland is infinitely more peopled than in England; and to give full effect to the natural resources of the country, a great part of this population should be swept from the soil into large manufacturing and commercial Towns.
The face of the country is in many parts very uninteresting from the want of hedges and trees in the inclosures; but other parts are not deficient in trees, and often present grand and fine features. Nothing indeed can be more beautiful than Killarney, and Glengariff, a part of Bantry bay. The county of Wicklow also which I saw afterwards by myself is extremely picturesque and beautiful. On the whole our Tour answered extremely partly from its peculiar beauties, and partly from its peculiar deformities. The crops were looking remarkably well, and so many more potatoes than usual were planted last year, that I almost fear there will be a glut.
If you come to Town at any time to stay at all, you may as well let me [know] to take the chance of our meeting. It would give me great pleasure to make you a visit at Gatcomb at Xmas; and I should want little inducement with regard to company; but I rather doubt whether I shall be able to accomplish it.
I have read over your book again with much gratification. There is much collateral matter in which I quite agree with you. I also quite agree with you that the difficulty of procuring subsistence is the necessarily limiting cause with regard to profits, but I still cannot agree with you that labour alone in the sense you understand it is either in theory or fact the best measure of exchangeable value; or that the state of the land practically determines the existing rate of profits in different countries. Pray do you allow that in different countries, where profits are different, your theory of value does not hold good. I dont feel quite sure.
Mrs. M joins me in kind regards to Mrs. Ricardo.
Ever truly Yours
T R Malthus.