309.: mcculloch to ricardo1[Reply to 308.—Answered by 310] - 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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mcculloch to ricardo
[Reply to 308.—Answered by 310]
Edinburgh 18th April 1819
My Dear Sir
The kind and flattering manner in which you have been pleased to notice, in your letter of the 7th inst, my efforts to contribute to the improvement of that science of which you are so great a master, is peculiarly gratifying to me, and far outweighs every other testimony that I could possibly receive. I was also much pleased to learn that the Committees had been occupied in discussing the merits of your plan for rendering bank notes exchangeable for bullion—However ignorant the Bank Directors may be, they cannot surely be so blind to their own interests as not to perceive what an immense advantage the adoption of your scheme would be to them, compared with being obliged to resume specie payments—The adoption of your plan will be the greatest triumph ever obtained by the science of Political Economy: And you will have the undoubted merit of having been the means of conferring a greater direct benefit on the country, than was ever conferred by any other private individual—
In writing the article in the Review I found myself at a great loss to give any proper account of the expence of the coinage; and I am convinced that if any impression has been made by that article it would have been rendered much stronger, had I been able to state the precise sum which had been expended on the gold and silver currency since the great recoinage in the reign of William III—Perhaps you could make a motion in Parliament for the production of an account of all the expences incurred on account of the mint establishment from 1695 to the present era, distinguishing of course the expence on account of the gold coin from that of silver, &c—Such a motion would I presume be readily assented to; and it would by helping to shew the enormous expence of a gold currency, not only assist in recommending your scheme, but would also be extremely useful in other enquiries—Since I have taken the liberty to suggest one motion to you, I think I may as well trespass on your patience with another—I observe that an account of the issues of the Bank of Ireland from 1797 down to 1819 has been laid on the table of the House; but by way of completing this account, it is necessary that an account of the course of exchange between London and Dublin, London and Belfast, and Dublin and Belfast should also be presented—You know the effect produced by the great relative issue of Irish bank paper in depressing the exchange of Dublin on London, and you are also aware how, after the Bank of Ireland ceased extending its issues, the exchange became favourable to Ireland according as Bank of England paper was increased—All this however would be better made out from an official return, which I presume could be procured without difficulty—
I have seen the work of Sismondis to which you refer, and I confess that I feel astonished that a person of his acknowledged talents should have published such a work—He adopts all those parts of Dr. Smiths theory which your great work has shewn to be erroneous, and he attempts to subvert his conclusions in cases where they are universally acknowledged to be correct—Sismondi is too much of a sentimentalist to make a good political economist—It is really not a little farcical to have a grave philosopher recommending all classes to marry, and at the same time telling them that it is their duty after having got two or three children to live in a state of celibacy!—I do not know whether this doctrine will conciliate Sismondi the favour of the dames of London, but I feel confident it will have no such tendency here—
I was particularly delighted with your observations on Mr Sturges Bournes pauper education bill —They completely exposed the pernicious tendency of that measure; and if the House had been able properly to appreciate what you so ably stated, they would no longer have encouraged so absurd a scheme—
I beg you will offer my congratulations to your brother on the auspicious event of his marriage—You may say to him that I understand there is a work in the press in which some of his friends will appear rather ridiculous—The publication will, I daresay, be clever—It is by the Editor of Blackwoods Magazine and will be a compound of quizzing, ribaldry, and toryism —
I regret exceedingly that it is not in my power to visit London, or rather I should say to visit you, for to me the one would be infinitely more attractive than the other, this season—that is a pleasure which however reluctantly I must keep in reserve for another opportunity—I hope you will have the goodness to let me hear from you as soon as any thing decisive has transpired relative to the Bank—I trust the success of your efforts to improve and perfect our monetary system will be as complete as it deserves to be; and I am sure that none of your friends will more cordially and sincerely sympathise with your triumph on this occasion than I shall do—
I am With great respect My Dear Sir Yours faithfully
J. R. McCulloch