266.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 264] - 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 malthus
[Reply to 264]
[Gatcomb Park, 20 Aug. 1818]
My dear Sir
I am very much obliged to you for the kind manner in which you express yourself respecting the praise that has been so lavishly bestowed on me by the reviewer of my book, in the Edinburgh Review. Immediately on reading it, I guessed that the writer of the article was Mr. M’Cullock, for from the publication of my book he appears sincerely to have embraced the views which I wished to impress on all my readers. I cannot but feel highly gratified at his praise, which I should not have been, in any thing like an equal degree, if it had come from Mr. Mill, because, though I should not have doubted his sincerity, I should have imputed much to his friendship and good opinion.
The praise indeed is far beyond my merits, and would perhaps have really told more if the writer had mixed with it an objection here and there.—
I do not remember what the question was which I answered consistently with my general principles in my last letter, and not having your letter here I cannot refer to it.— I admit that by improvements in agriculture an enormous quantity of wealth may be created, and that in the natural progress of society much of that wealth may ultimately go to landlords in the shape of rent, but that does not alter the fact of rent being always a transfer, and never a creation of wealth—for before it is paid to the landlords as rent it must have constituted the profits of stock, and a portion is made over to the landlord only because lands of a poorer quality are taken into cultivation.
Mrs. Malthus and you must have found your excursion to the Isle of Wight very pleasant. I remember being there many years ago, and finding it a very agreeable place.
You will have seen by the newspapers that I have been through all the parade and expence, which my office of sheriff imposes on me, when the judges attend the Assizes, without any advantage. The judge came in to the town after midnight, by which his commission became void, and after sending to London, Jury, Witnesses, Counsel, and Sheriff, were all dismissed to their respective homes. It is expected that we shall have a new commission in 2 or 3 weeks.—
Mrs. Osman Ricardo has recovered her health and spirits, and is daily more endeared to us by the sweetness of her temper, and her obliging disposition.—
I am sorry that you have not made any great progress in the work that you are about. After the reflection you have given to the subject I am not surprised that my reviewer has not shaken your confidence in your opinions. It would have been little flattering to me if he had, for I have had many opportunities, and have taken a great deal of pains to bring you round to my way of thinking without success. Why should he be so fortunate on the first trial? The truth I begin to suspect is, that we do not differ so much as we have hitherto thought. I differed very little from the opinions expressed in that part of your MS which you read to me, but I wish to have an opportunity of judging of your system as a whole, and therefore shall be glad when it comes in its printed form.
I am glad to hear that Sir J. Mackintosh and Mr. Whishaw are well, pray remember me kindly to them. If either, or both of them, should go to Bowood this season, I shall take it very kind of them if they will come for a few days to me. The Marquis of Lansdown has promised me a visit, and it would be particularly agreeable if they would all come at the same time. Should Mr. Whishaw be as near to me as Bo-wood he is already under an engagement to come. I met the Marquis and Marchs. of Lansdown at Gloucester—they entered the town on their way home, from a tour, just as I was about leaving it, and owing to the breaking up of the courts were detained some time for want of horses.
I suppose that you will be confined at Hertford till the Xmas vacation. I very much wish that Mrs. Malthus and you would pass a part of that vacation with us. Perhaps you may direct your steps westerly. If so you will not mind deviating a little from your course.
Mr. Mill arrived here yesterday evening to pay me his long promised visit. He brings me no news, excepting that he dined at Mr. Bentham’s with Mr. Brougham, Mr. Rush the American Ambassador, and Sir Saml. Romilly. The old gentleman is becoming gay. A party of four must to him be a formidably large one.
Mrs. Ricardo joins with me in kind regards to Mrs. Malthus.
Ever truly Yrs.