285.: ricardo to mcculloch1[Reply to 271.—Answered by 290] - 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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ricardo to mcculloch
[Reply to 271.—Answered by 290]
Gatcomb Park, Minchinhampton Gloucestershire 24th. Novr. 1818
My dear Sir
I thank you much for the sheets of the Supplement to the Encyclopedia which you were so good as to send me by my brother. I have read with great satisfaction the two articles which you have written, one on the Corn laws, the other on the Cottage system. They appear to me to be correct in principle, ably and clearly written, and to contain much useful and important information. I would say more, because I feel more, but you have disqualified me for the office of a judge, by rendering my impartiality suspicious. The favourable manner in which you have noticed me has certainly been very highly gratifying to me.
Mr. Murray has very suddenly applied to me for permission to print a second edition of my book:—its sale it seems has been much accelerated by the distinguished notice which you took of it, and Mr. Murray is so much of a political economist as to know that it is his interest to increase the supply with the demand, and he seems also to be aware that the demand for some articles is very much governed by caprice. For these reasons he is very desirous to get the book out as soon as possible. I have been busily employed these last few days in reading it over with attention, chiefly with a view to find out those passages which you think hold out an apology to ministers for taxation, but I fear I have not succeeded. In page 329 there is something like it, and I propose altering that passage by substituting the following words after “a minister” instead of those which now stand there. “a minister is induced to have recourse to more direct taxes, such as income and property taxes, neglecting the golden maxim of M Say that [‘]the very best of all plans of finance is to spend little, and the best of all taxes is that which is the least in amount.[’]” Perhaps instead of this you would suggest something different, and would oblige by giving me your opinion freely on all those passages which you would like to see altered. I promise to use equal freedom with you, and to retain my own expression if I am not convinced by you. As the first few sheets will immediately be in the press, I hope you will excuse my requesting you to write to me immediately.
I understand that Major Torrens has written an article in the Edinburgh Magazine on my observations on value. I have not yet seen it, but expect to have it here in a few days. Major Torrens and I had a long conversation on this question, without convincing each other. I have distinctly stated in my book, that value is not regulated solely by quantity of labour, when capitals are employed in production which are not equally durable. I mean to insert in Page 38 the following observation to be printed in the next edition and which I think more fully answers Major Torrens’ objection. “The same result will take place if the circulating capitals be of unequal durability. If from the nature of two different trades, in which equal capitals are employed, one manufacturer could not bring the commodity he produced to market in less than one year, while the other could bring his there, in three months, the commodity of the first would fall in relative value to the second, with every rise of wages and fall of profits. It must be unnecessary to go into further calculations to prove this to be true, as it rests precisely on the same principle as the case already considered, namely, the different degrees of durability of two equal capitals.” Forgive me for troubling you so much at large with these matters. My brother only passed a few days with me in the country since his return from Scotland. He speaks with so much delight of the country he has been visiting, and of its inhabitants, that he has given me a great desire to visit it. When I shall be able to gratify this desire I am not at present able to tell. I trust however that either in Scotland or in England I shall ere long have the satisfaction of assuring you in person of the esteem with which I am
Most truly yours