405.: ricardo to malthus1[Reply to 404.—Answered by 408] - 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.
ricardo to malthus
[Reply to 404.—Answered by 408]
[Gatcomb Park, 29 Nov. 1820]
My Dear Malthus
As Miss Sims told you Mrs. Ricardo has been very unwell with a bilious complaint, to which she is every now and then liable. This last attack was a very severe one, but she is now only suffering from the weakness and debility which it has occasioned.
I am very glad to hear of your intention of paying me a visit here—I hope it will be for a longer time than you mention. I am desired by Mrs. Ricardo to say that it would give her great pleasure to see Mrs. Malthus, and your three children:—she can accommodate them all with the greatest facility, and therefore unless really inconvenient to Mrs. Malthus to quit home, we hope she will accompany you to Gatcomb. There is a coach which leaves London 3 times a week at 5 oClock in the evening; on monday, wednesday and friday This coach goes to Minchinhampton, one mile from our house; it carries 4 inside, travels at a very good pace, and sets off from The Angel Inn St. Martin’s-le-Grand. There is also a morning coach which goes from Gerard’s Hall, Basing Lane Cheapside, 3 times a week, in the morning, at a quarter before 6. I believe this coach goes on Tuesday, thursday and saturday—it is a Stroud Coach, and does not come nearer to our house than within 4 miles, on the Cirencester Road. If you prefer this coach we will send for you to the place where the roads diverge. This is of course in case Mrs. Malthus does not accompany you. Now as for the time of coming, that I leave entirely to you. The sooner the more agreeable to me.
It is true the case in my book is stated to be temporary and in my opinion it can only be temporary, because it cannot exist when the population has increased with the demand for people. When we meet we must agree upon the meaning to be attached to “a neat surplus from the land”—it may mean the whole material produce after deducting from it what is absolutely necessary to feed the men who obtained it, or it may mean the value of the produce which falls to the share of the capitalist, or to the share of the capitalist and landlord together. If the first be neat surplus it is equally so whether given to labourers, capitalists or landlords. If the second it may fall short of giving as great a value to the capitalist as he expended in obtaining it, and therefore for him there would be no neat produce. This term neat produce is used ambiguously in your book and is made the ground of an observation on something [which I] said about neat and gross produce. The observation is j[ust] or not just, according to the meaning attached to the term neat produce; but more of this when we meet.
Knowing as I do how much we are influenced by taking a particular view of a subject, and how difficult it is to destroy a train of ideas which have long followed each other in the mind, I will not say I am right about the effects of unproductive demand, and therefore it is possible that five years hence I may think as you do on the subject, but at present I do not see the least probability of such a change for every renewed consideration of the question confirms me in the opinion which I have long held.
Ever Truly Yrs.