406.: mcculloch to ricardo1[Reply to 401.—Answered by 407] - 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.
mcculloch to ricardo
[Reply to 401.—Answered by 407]
Edinburgh 28th Nov 1820
My Dear Sir
Nothing I assure you could be more gratifying to me than a perusal of your observations on Mr. Malthus book—I have long been of opinion that Mr. Malthus merits as a Political Economist were very much exaggerated; but the reputation he has acquired renders his errors the more dangerous—and I congratulate myself on the certainty of the instruction and pleasure I shall derive from your remarks on his principles and conclusions—Do not fear that I shall have the least difficulty in reading your remarks; I am so much accustomed to interlineations and abbreviations of all kinds that I am quite sure I shall read them with the utmost facility. Have the goodness to get the parcel well wrapped up, and send it to me by the Mail—I shall be impatient for its arrival—
I do not know how Mr. Malthus book has sold in London, but I know it has not sold well here—It is the text book—the very gospel indeed—of a few landlords who have read it in order to find arguments to enable them to defend our factitious system; but otherwise it has not been in much demand—
I am tolerably well acquainted with the fourth Edition of Say, and I quite agree with you that the notions of value which pervade it are nearly as confused as in the previous ones—It is astonishing that he should still adhere to his old opinions on the subject of rent; and it is much to be lamented that so popular a work should be erroneous in so important a particular—After all however the great merit of Says work seems to me to consist almost exclusively in the luminous arrangement of the parts and the perspicuity of the stile—Excepting the Chapter Des Debouchés it contains no disquisition that can be said to be either original or ingenious—It is sensible and well written and that is all—I have just glanced at his Letters to Malthus, but have not read them through—They struck me as being decidedly inferior to his other work; and I cannot help thinking that your taking any very particular notice of them would be dooing them an honour to which they have no just title. Perhaps Jeffrey would have no objections to my reviewing them; and if so the perusal of your remarks would be of the most essential service to me—
I am just about finishing an article on Interest for the Supp. to the E. Brittanica—I could not say any thing that was new in this; but I think it will contribute to the dissemination of sound opinions on a subject of considerable importance—I shall send you a copy—
Pray have you turned your attention to the subject of the Combination Laws? I have had some intentions of endeavouring to throw together a few observations on them, and if I were not ashamed to give you such an infinity of trouble I should like to know what you think of them—For my part I look on them as extremely pernicious—as totally incompetent to effect any good purpose—as rendering those combinations dangerous which would otherwise be harmless—and as tending to widen the breach, which is already by far too ample, between the labourers and the propertied classes.
Pray do you know any thing of our friend Colonel Torrens?—I have not heard from him for a very long time—I presume he is not in London.
I think the conduct of ministers to the Queen is as weak as it is base—Their policy was now to treat her with all possible respect to give her a Palace, to restore her name to the Liturgy, and to get her a handsome provision. The more they persecute her she will become the more popular—There is not, however, I am afraid the least prospect of a change of ministers. It is the policy of Cobbet and of all the ultra radical writers to hold out all public men as alike corrupt, or in other words to say that revolution is the only cure—Ministers know this and they will profit by it. The violence and the intemperance of the leaders of the mob will soon disgust the greater part of the middle classes who are now united with them, and with their support the ministers will be able to get on as well as ever—Excuse these remarks and believe me to be with the most unalterable sentiments of respect and esteem
J. R. McCulloch