358.: mcculloch to ricardo1[Reply to 355.—Answered by 359] - 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 355.—Answered by 359]
Edinburgh 19 March 1820
My Dear Sir
Permit me to return my best thanks to you for your kind letter of the 28th ulto—I am always most happy to hear from you; nor is there in point of fact any thing of which I am so proud as of the honour of your correspondence—
I presume that ere now you have seen the 65th Number of the Review—You will have little difficulty in ascertaining who wrote the article on Taxation and the Corn laws —I thought it was the best way in order to render the article frappant, and that you know either is or ought to be the great object of a Reviewer, to endeavour to shew the effect of the Corn laws as a tax—I do not think I have at all exaggerated the burden they impose on the country, and an arithmetical statement of the kind in question, if it is nearly correct, will make a more powerful impression than the best conducted argument—I should like to know what you think of the soundness of my opinion relative to the comparative rapidity of the increase of taxation —If I am well founded in the statement I have made would it not afford a pretty strong argument against the sudden increase of taxation that would be required to enable a country to raise the supplies for carrying on a war within the year? I regret I did not get your scheme for paying off the debt spoken of in the manner I should have liked to have done, as Mr. Jeffrey thought it would be better to postpone any examination of it to a subsequent period—However I am under no apprehensions but I shall still have it in my power to do it justice, and to defend it against the cavils of those by whom it has been ignorantly attacked—
I agree with you in thinking that if there were no other alternative a permanent tax on the importation of corn, or even a tax varying with the price, might on the whole be preferable to the present system—But I trust you will, in the first instance, oppose all such taxes and all restrictions whatever on the trade in corn—Your concurrence in any scheme, however modified, for restricting the freedom of this trade, would be the most fatal event that could possibly happen to blast the hopes of those who are confidently looking forward to the ultimate and complete triumph of those principles you have done so much to establish—Excuse the freedom which I take, and forgive me for saying that on this fundamental point you must make no compromise—It is for the interest of all—even of the landlords—that the present vicious system should be abandoned—Any attempt to improve or amend what is in itself bottomed on radically unsound principles, however advantageous in the meantime, must in the end aggravate the disease and render a return to a healthy state more difficult—When the question of the Corn laws comes to be agitated in Parliament, every person who has emancipated himself from the shackles of the vilest prejudices, or who would wish to see his country again in a flourishing condition, will look up to you as their representative; and will expect you to recommend not palliatives or soporifics, but such a mode of treatment as will effectually extirpate the disease which is now preying on our vitals—
I am anxious to see Mr. Malthus work. He deserves to be very roughly handled—The assistance which he has given to the supporters of our factitious and exclusive system, renders the task of exposing his errors, however ungracious, indispensibly necessary—
I am much gratified with what you say of the Scotsman; and I hope it will continue to deserve your approbation—It is no light matter I assure you to put your hand to any paper in this City in which the government is not to be the subject of eulogy—I believe a political writer would have an equal chance of justice in Madrid and Edinburgh —Juries are here no protection for they are invariably packed, and the Bench is filled with mere servile partisans who must have starved had they continued at the Bar—Whatever intelligence or public spirit may exist in Scotland, exists in despite of the public institutions of the country, which are infinitely worse than you could have any idea of—I shall hope to hear from you when you have leisure. And I remain with the greatest regard and esteem
Yours most faithfully
J. R. McCulloch