338.: malthus to ricardo1[Reply to 328.—Answered by 345] - 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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malthus to ricardo
[Reply to 328.—Answered by 345]
E I Coll Oct 14th 1819
My dear Ricardo
I am ashamed to think that I have so long delayed thanking you for your letter, and particularly for your very kind invitation to Gatcomb at Xmas. It would be a most agreeable visit both to Mrs. Malthus and myself, if we could accomplish it; but I fear there are insurmountable obstacles in the way. You forget that Mrs. Malthus is governess to her own girls, and that I am preceptor to my own boy, when he is at home, which will be at Xmas. It so happens, further, that we shall have a nephew with us about that time; and into the bargain I hope to be very busy correcting the press. Under these circumstances I fear it is quite an impossible case, and we must defer our visit till you come to Town.
Whishaw speaks with much pleasure of the two days he passed at Gatcomb. He is to be at Mackintosh’s tomorrow where we are to meet him at dinner. I am glad to find, from the account you give of the discussions at Mr. Smith’s that your principles are considered as genuinely whiggish, as from what has lately happened, and the apparent temper of the mob, I am certainly not more inclined to Radicalism than I was, although I am a decided friend to a moderate reform in Parliament. I can hardly contemplate a more bloody revolution than I should expect would take place, if Universal suffrage and annual parliaments were effected by the intimidation of such meetings as have been latterly taking place. These people have evidently been taught to believe that such a reform would completely relieve all their distresses; and when they found themselves, as they most certainly would, entirely disappointed, massacre would in my opinion go on till it was stopt by a military despotism. In the case of a revolution in this country, the distress would be beyond all comparison greater than in France. In France the manufacturing population was comparatively small, and the destruction of it which took place, was not so much felt; but in England the misery from want of work and food would be dreadful. I hope and trust however that these extremities may be avoided.
Your answer to my query was such as I expected, and I agree with you. You observe that my supposition is an extravagant one. It is so. But perhaps it is safer to reject capital and profits entirely, than to apply them in any given way, under the certainty that scarcely any other commodity can reasonably be supposed to have required in its production exactly the same quantity of fixed and circulating capital employed for exactly the same time. On any supposition you can make respecting the capital employed in the production of the precious metals, it is scarcely possible that all your calculations should not be necessarily and fundamentally erroneous.
Pray just tell me whether, when land is thrown out of cultivation from the importation of foreign corn, you consider the new rate of profits as determined by the state of the land, or the stationary prices of manufactured and mercantile products compared with the fall of wages. According to your view of the subject, will not capital be withdrawn from the land, till the last capital yields the profit obtained by the fall of wages in manufactures, on the supposition of the price of such manufactures remaining stationary.
I hope to begin printing the middle or end of next month. I fear I shall have too large a volume when it is finished, although I cannot include taxation and some other subjects which I wish to discuss. I am making an analysis like Sismondi’s which will take up a good deal of room.
Mrs. M joins me in kind regards to Mrs. Ricardo.
Ever truly Yours
T R Malthus