308.: ricardo to mcculloch1[Answered by 309] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 8 Letters 1819-June 1821 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 8 Letters 1819-1821.
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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 mcculloch
[Answered by 309]
Upper Brook Street, London 7 april 1819
It is a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing from you, and as I am not willing that our correspondence shall wholly cease, I write now without having any thing to say that you may think worthy of a letter. To put you in good humor with me I will begin with telling you that your essay on money in the last Edinburgh Review is universally admired. It is acknowledged by all the competent judges on that subject, to be a sound, and able view of that department of Political Economy. You have I am sure been the means of affording the most useful instruction, to many members of the Committees of both houses, and as for myself, I am under great obligations to you, for my plan might have slumbered, or have been forgotten, if you had not rescued it from oblivion, and said more in its favour than I had been able to do. You will be pleased to know that an investigation into the probable results of adopting that plan, or some modification of it, has formed one of the leading subjects of examination, by both committees, and from the speech of Mr. Peel, as well as from those of Mr. Canning, and the Marquis of Lansdown, I have very little doubt but that it will be recommended, as a temporary, if not a permanent measure, in both reports. If so, we shall have the merit of having at least accelerated the return to a sound unfluctuating system of currency, for it is impossible to describe to you the alarm of the Bank Directors at the thoughts of providing coin for that purpose—they have officially declared that not less than 30 millions would be necessary, besides the usual reserve; and yet they have opposed every obstacle to a scheme which will render such a provision unnecessary. The Bank Directors, alone, with two or three very distinguished exceptions, and they young men, have made no progress in correct ideas on the subject of money since the last committee sat —they still maintain as a Court of Directors, though not individually, that they cannot believe that the rise or fall of the exchange has any connection with the amount of their notes—they still maintain that the high price of bullion in their depreciated medium, means the same thing as a high exchangeable value of bullion in all other things—and they still maintain that their issues have rather been too moderate than excessive. Happily the committees are better informed, and I think we may anticipate a report which will recognise all the important principles of the science, as far as it regards money.
You will have seen that I have taken my seat in the House of Commons—I fear that I shall be of little use there. I have twice attempted to speak, but I proceeded in the most embarrassed manner, and I have no hope of conquering the alarm with which I am assailed the moment I hear the sound of my own voice.—
We are promised two works on Political Economy, one from the pen of Mr. Malthus—the other from that of Major Torrens. I am well acquainted with the opinions of both these gentlemen, and though I think they will assist in disseminating many sound principles, yet I think they adhere too firmly to their old associations to make a very decided progress in the science. You are the person who ought to give us a complete system of Political Economy, written in so popular a way as to be easily understood by the generality of readers:—nobody could do it better, as all will testify who have read your two articles in the Review and your essay on the Corn Trade.
I was introduced yesterday by Sir James Mackintosh, in the House of Lords, to Monsr. Sismondi, who is on a very short visit to this Country. He has just published a book on Political Economy, in which he has endeavoured to shew the fallacies of my opinions. He told me that he differed from Say also. I have great curiosity to see his book, as by the few words which passed between us he does not appear to agree with any of our known writers.—
You may perhaps have heard that my brother Ralph is married, and has relinquished his travelling scheme. He has long been thinking of matrimony, but deferred it so long that all his friends thought it would be his fate to die a bachelor. He has a young and an agreeable wife, and is comfortably settled at the moderate distance of 10 miles from London.
I hope I shall soon have the pleasure of hearing from you—I suppose that I must not expect to see you for the present in this country, I wish I might—your visit would give me great satisfaction.—
Believe me Dear Sir Very truly Yrs