268.: trower to ricardo2[Reply to 261.—Answered by 272] - 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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trower to ricardo
[Reply to 261.—Answered by 272]
Unsted Wood—Aug: 23. 1818
My Dear Ricardo
I have been absent from home, or your last kind letter should not have remained so terribly long unanswered. Many thanks for your friendly invitation to Gatcomb, which I should rejoice to think were practicable. But there is a vast gulph between us, and Mrs. Trower is very much devoted to her nursery. I hope, however, at some time or other, to be able to steal away from my family, for a short time, that I may have the pleasure of taking a glance of you.—
I have just been reading, with great attention, and still greater interest, the criticism on your Book, in the Endingburgh Review; which, from what I have heard you say, I conclude is from the pen of Major Torrens. He does not say one word in your praise more than you deserve. I am desirous of hearing your opinion of it. To me it appears, upon the whole, very well done. He is master of the subject, and the general view he has given of your system, and opinions, is clear and satisfactory. He is however much too sparing of quotations from your Book, and, upon some occasions, I think, where the text would have been more convincing than the comment.—He appears to me, in one part of his Review, rather to puzzle himself in endeavoring to explain the difficult question of exchangeable value, and price. In page 68. he says, if the labor of production should be encreased, equally on all articles, “their exchangeable value would remain unaltered, while their real price would however be augmented,” and lower down, in the same page, he says—“In such circumstances although the prices of commodities would remain stationary, the wealth and comfort of the whole society would be diminished.” This surely is a contradiction. In the next page, in endeavoring to shew, that a rise in wages would not affect the prices of commodities, I think he shows only, that it would not affect their relative values. The quotation, which follows, from your Book, is conclusive on that point; but his reasoning appears to me defective.—He is most forcible in that part of the Article, that relates to the origin of rent; which I think he has managed well; and his answer to the objection of the quarterly Review, on that point, is to me very satisfactory. No doubt, the same effect would be produced (as far as the argument goes) by fresh capital employed upon land, which merely affords the ordinary profit on Stock, as by land not affording any rent.—By the by, how is the fact with respect to America? Does no land pay any rent; because his argument proceeds upon that idea; as he speaks of the boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land, and of the workmen operating with the best machinery &. &. &. Pray who is “the Fellow of the University of Oxford,” what is the title of his Book. I have never heard of it—must I read it? Upon the whole, then, I think this Review will do your book a great deal of good. It will dispose many to read it, who otherwise might not have looked at it; and it will facilitate their comprehension of it, by the clear and concise general view which it gives of its objects.—What says Mill of the Review? Pray remember me kindly to him, and say I have derived much useful information from Nay-smith.
I observe by your letter, that both Mill and you are disposed to strain my admissions beyond their legitimate extent; making good the old adage; “if you grant an inch they’ll take an ell.” But, since you are both much too clear sighted seriously to contend, “that because I admit there should be an effectual check on the Government, in the people”; that therefore “I cannot fail to admit that the House of Commons, as at present constituted, does not afford that check; that it really represents the Aristocracy or rather a narrow Oligarchy and not the people.” So far from admitting this, I contend, that the House of Commons practically, and in effect, affords that check, which the people ought to have on the Government; that the force of public opinion is, and must be felt in Parliament; and that the rapid and inevitable growth of that opinion makes it a much more important consideration how the influence of that opinion should be properly regulated, than how it should be encreased. The natural tendency of the course of events in a Country circumstanced as this is, where wealth, and knowledge, and independent spirit, are spreading rapidly among the people, is to give too much force to the popular part of our Constitution, to render it too republican. Those who prefer that form of Government, will naturally be disposed to encourage these tendencies, but for myself I give the preference to the mixed government we at present enjoy.—That it is capable of improvement in practice I do not mean to deny, and should gladly acquiesce in any mode of election which, whilst it checked the disgraceful scenes witnessed at our Polls, did not expose us to greater mischiefs. And I think it probable, that some mode of ballot might be proposed, which would diminish if not entirely remove the existing evils. Adieu. Remember us very kindly to Mrs. Ricardo and your family, and believe me my Dear Ricardo
Yours very sincerely
Judge Garrow seems to have put you to great inconvenience at the Assizes. Why did he not send on one of the Council to open the Court. There are always some named in the Commission.