226.: ricardo to trower1[Reply to 224.—Answered by 235] - 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 trower
[Reply to 224.—Answered by 235]
Gatcomb Park Minchinhampton 23d. Aug 1817
My dear Trower
I congratulate Mrs. Trower and you on the birth of (I believe) your third daughter, and sincerely wish that she may grow up to be all that fond parents can wish, and that she may long add to the happiness of your domestic circle. True I am a much older parent than you, and now that I am a grandfather I should be puzzled, even with the assistance of Mr. Malthus, and Major Torrens, to calculate the accelerated ratio at which my progeny is increasing. I am sure that it is neither arithmetical nor geometrical. I have some notion of consulting with Mr. Owen on the best plan of establishing one of his villages for me and my descendants, admitting only in addition a sufficient number of families to prevent the necessity of celibacy. Now that the poor man is deserted by the world, and even by the editor of the Times, who had so ridiculously puffed him forward, he will be at leisure to devote all his talents, and all his enthusiasm to so hopeful a scheme.
I have been returned from the Continent about a month, after an absence from home of little more than 6 weeks. I assure you that they were six weeks of active exertion, which was amply rewarded by the gratification which I had; in viewing the different objects which came under my notice. The towns, Cathedrals and pictures of Flanders,—the country about the Rhine and Hiedelberg,—Frankfort, Coblents and some other towns in Germany have all afforded me very great pleasure, and my fortnight’s stay in Paris was not the least agreeable of my journey. An excursion to Paris merely, is so very easily accomplished, that I shall be tempted to go there again with my family. Every body should see the Louvre and Versailles who lives within a week’s journey of them.
I can give you but little information respecting the criticisms on my book,—indeed I have heard of none but from M. Say, and Mr. Malthus for some months past. The former I saw several times at Paris,—he was very friendly and agreeable—spoke favourably of my book—was quite sure that in a very few years there would not be a shadow of difference between us, but he complained that I had made demands too great on the continued exercise of thought on the part of my reader, and had not sufficiently relieved him or assisted him by a few occasional examples, and illustrations, in support of my theory. He said that he was reading me with a pen in his hand, making notes to be employed in the next edition of his work, and he found it required all his attention to follow me. In the last edition of his work, published before my book appeared, he has spoken of me in very flattering terms, far exceeding my deserts.
In a letter which I lately received from Mr. Malthus he mentions my book in the following manner: “I have read 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 still I cannot agree with you that labour done 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 don’t feel quite sure.” On the whole I have reason to be satisfied with the opinions of these distinguished professors. I was told by Mill that Major Torrens had applied to the editor of the Edinburgh Review for permission to review my book in that journal, and the answer returned was that they must first know from Malthus whether he meant to undertake it. As I have every reason to believe that Malthus will not do it, it is probable that Torrens’ offer may be accepted. I presented Torrens with one of the first copies of my book: —he was disappointed that I had not mentioned his name in it, and wrote to me to that effect, claiming some merit as the original discoverer of some of the principles which I endeavoured to establish. I had no design of neglecting his merits, and omitted to mention him because none of his doctrines appeared to me strikingly new and did not particularly come with[in the] scope of the subject I was treating. There were so[me things] in his bo[ok about] which I pointedly differed from him but refrained from [noticing] them because I knew he was sensible they were wrong, and had adopted, and was going soon to publish, more correct views to the public. In the correspondence which ensued between him and me I endeavoured to shew, and according to Mill’s opinion I did shew, that on all those points which I had as I thought for the first time brought forward, his published opinions were in fact in opposition to mine, and on those which he said we agreed upon and for which he claimed the merit of originality they were all to be found in Adam Smith or Malthus, and therefore neither of us could be called discoverers. Our altercation was carried on without the least acrimony, and ended by a complete restoration of cordiality, though accompanied with rather more reserve than before. He has dined with me twice since, and the last time he met Mr. Malthus for the first time, and stoutly defended my doctrines, to which he is quite a convert, against Mr. Malthus opposition to them. You will oblige me not to mention his application to the Editor of the Review unless you hear it from some other quarter.
I only staid one day in town on my journey from Paris to Gatcomb, so that I am ignorant of the proceedings of the savings Bank Institution. Your plan is a good one if it do not too much encroach on the fund for expences. I fear that our reduced treasure can bear no further diminution.
Our crops are abundant but we are in bad spirits at the appearance of the weather. We hardly pass a day without heavy rain, and the atmosphere is so cold that we are never without a fire. An abundant harvest is at the present moment of the first importance—it is at all times a great ingredient towards the happiness of the mass of the people, however it may on some occasions affect the interest of a particular class of individuals.
Do you not think the funds enormously high with a revenue so deficient.
Mrs. Ricardo joins with me in kind regards to Mrs. Trower.