371.: trower to ricardo3[Answered by 373] - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
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.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
trower to ricardo
[Answered by 373]
Unsted Wood—Godalming. July 5—1820.
My Dear Ricardo
London has become more than ever the centre of attraction! The proceedings going on in Parliament are most important, and their consequences most fearful. What is to become of this Pandora’s Box? Are its contents to be spread abroad and scatter mischief among us? Is the investigation to be pursued? Is it possible after all, that the Q. is really innocent? Or, is she presuming upon the difficulty of proving her guilt? If so, hitherto, her bullying has been most successful, since she has succeeded in exciting a feeling in her favor, which will not dispose the public to be very impartial judges in her cause. It will require some better evidence than what foreign accusers can afford, to satisfy the biassed mind of John Bull. Her advisers must indeed feel confidence in her case to allow her thus to put everything to hazard, and to rise in her demands as the hour of trial approaches. If she should be successful, I consider a change of Ministers certain; it is impossible they can continue to hold their places after having exposed the K. or rather perhaps after having allowed him to expose himself, by such useless, such mischievous, such senseless proceedings. Under such circumstances a change of Ministers might be beneficial, it would be calculated to tranquilise the public mind, and we should have a right to expect, that those who have so long, and so loudly preached about economy, would, as soon as the opportunity was afforded them, set about practising it.—
I am glad to see you lose no opportunity of standing up in your place in Parliament to assert the true principles of political economy. It is only by reiterated representations of sound doctrines on this subject that we can hope to see them reduced to practise.—What do the Economists say of Malthus’s Book ? Has he obtained any converts? Has it excited any interest? Have you begun your proposed epistolary controversy with him? I have made but little progress in his Book yet; but, hitherto, I cannot think he has succeeded in overturning any of your positions. He labors hard to prove, that the prices of commodities are not regulated by the cost of productions, and, yet, I think, he admits the point, even by his mode of reasoning the subject; for, he allows, that the costs of production have a most powerful effect upon prices. “But,” he adds, “the true way of considering these costs is as the necessary condition of the supply of the objects wanted.” Now, if the supply of the objects wanted depends upon the price, covering the costs of production; and that price depends upon the relation between the supply and demand, then, must that price be governed by these costs of production, because if that price be not adequate, the relation between supply and demand is altered, and the price is necessarily affected. After all, I confess, it appears to me little more than a dispute about terms, a different mode of stating the same question; and I am at a loss to know why he considers these points, “as two systems, having an essentially different origin, and requiring to be carefully distinguished.” —No doubt, Mr. Malthus’s high reputation, his long devotion to these subjects, entitle his opinions to very mature consideration; but, if he be correct in this view, I do not think he has succeeded in making his reader acquainted with the foundation of his arguments, at least he has not succeeded in satisfying or convincing me.—Nobody disputes that the prices are affected immediately by the relations between supply and demand, and he has not shewn, that they do not ultimately depend upon the cost of production. Adam Smith himself says “that the natural price is, as it were, the central price to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating.”
When is Parliament likely to rise—I suppose you are a fixture in London till that event takes place. Has any account been yet laid before the House of the amount of the Savings Banks Funds? I want to know what has been the encrease. Notwithstanding the difficulties of the times our accumulation goes on here; and I am happy to say, that our poor rates are diminishing.
I am amused to observe the incessant activity of our friend Hume in Parliament. No subject whatever escapes his notice. He is a compleat Ferret; and must be abominated by those Rats who are fond of “Cheese Parings and Candles ends!”. It is a pitty, however, that he does not apply the principles of Economy, which he advocates so strenuously to his own exertions! He would raise considerably the value of these exertions, if he would diminish their supply. But, I fear they must continue in abundance, as the production seems to cost him nothing!—
Mrs. Trower begs to join with me in kind remembrances to Mrs. Ricardo and your family and believe me My Dear Ricardo
Yrs very truly—