231.: malthus to ricardo1[Reply to 230.—Answered by 233] - 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 230.—Answered by 233]
E I Coll Oct 12th 1817
My dear Sir
I am glad to hear of you; and should like much to get a few hours conversation with you in Town; but I am engaged on tuesday and in part indeed on monday; so that altogether the time does not suit, and I can only hope to be more fortunate when you next come to Town.
I have once or twice met Dr. Roget and always thought him an agreeable and amiable man. He was very much liked and respected by poor Horner. I heard the other day from Whishaw. He was at Florence, and thinking of his return round by Venice Milan and the Simplon. He says he cannot sufficiently congratulate himself on having reached Florence, which did not form a part of his original plan. Altogether he seems to have been very much pleased with his tour.
I am glad to hear so good an account of your harvest in Gloucestershire. I believe indeed it has been generally favourable, and this latter fine weather has been a grand thing for the backward counties. I was in the Wolds of Lincolnshire last week, where I found the people much delighted with their unusual fine weather. They are very apt to have late and bad harvests.
We have both of us, as you observe, always been confident in the resources of the country, and there is certainly now every appearance that our views will be justified by the result. The present state of things however perhaps tends to contradict one of your opinions respecting profits. Labour has certainly fallen, and though I have no doubt it will rise again gradually and is in fact now rising; yet it must be allowed that now while it is low, profits and interest are also low.
Can you shew me where the fallacy of the following statement lies.
Capital is wholly employed in the purchase of materials and machinery, and the maintenance of labour. If from any cause whatever, materials machinery and the maintenance of the labourer, and his wages, fall considerably in money value, is it possible that the same amount of monied capital can be employed in the country?
I quite agree with you in what you said in your previous letter on the effects of a scanty harvest upon the progress of national wealth; but I draw from it an inference favourable to my hypothesis that an increase of the value of the general produce determined by the supply and the demand, is the great stimulus to industry and future production and will often more than counteract, in reference to general and future wealth, the evils of a dearth to individuals, if it does not go too far. Abundance without increase of value, (which you contemplate as the result of foreign trade) would, it appears to me, necessarily lead to a stagnation of demand and of industry. If the value of the national produce however abundant will not command more labour this year than the last, the demand for labour must be stationary and the new labourers coming into the market must be unemployed.
By the by you have never told me, in return for my criticisms on your work, how much you think me wrong in my Additions. I am meditating another volume, but hardly know what to call it. Mrs. M desires to be remembered. Suppose you come down to us for a couple of nights.
Ever truly Yours
T R Malthus.