407.: ricardo to mccullochcculloch1[Reply to 406.—Answered by 412] - 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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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.
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ricardo to mccullochcculloch
[Reply to 406.—Answered by 412]
Gatcomb Park Minchinhampton 4 Decr. 1820
My Dear Sir
After writing my last letter to you I received one from Mr. Malthus, for the purpose of informing me that as the meeting of Parliament was put off, and my visit to London consequently deferred, he would, if convenient to me, pay me a visit here, for a few days, during his vacation. He says that he should much like to see my remarks on his work before he publishes another edition. I do not know precisely when Mr. Malthus will come, but it probably will be at the latter end of this week or the beginning of the next. This arrangement will prevent me from immediately availing myself of the permission which you kindly gave me of sending my MS to you, but will not probably delay it for more than a fortnight, as I shall dispatch it directly after I have shewn it to Mr. Malthus, trusting, most implicitly trusting, that you will after you have read it give me your candid opinion of it, with such remarks as may occur to you. The style you will find miserably bad but that is a fault from which I cannot free any performance of mine, and all I dare ask of you is to point out to me any glaring error that may offer itself to your notice.—
I do not know that I should say any thing about Say if I had not received a letter from him with his book, in which he rather invites me to declare my opinion of his sentiments in the first work which I shall publish. I wish you may review his book in the Edin. Rev.: the opportunity is favorable for I perceive that a translation of it is just advertised by a Mr. Prinsep. I wish you may find any thing new in my remarks.
Before I left London Mr. Murray told me he should soon wish to publish a new edition of my book. As M Say has left out of his 4th Edition a part of the matter on which I before animadverted, and has given his opinion of value in a new, and as he thinks, an amended form, I think it right to omit my former observations, and to insert others in their place. These also I send you.
I am glad to hear that you are about finishing an article on Interest for the Suppt.. to E. Brittanica. I am sure it will be well done and I shall read it with great interest.
I have never particularly turned my attention to the combination laws. From the little I do know of them they appear to me to be unjust and oppressive to the working classes, and of little real use to masters. In spite of these laws masters are frequently intimidated, and are obliged to comply with the unjust demands of their workmen. The true remedy for combinations is perfect liberty on both sides, and adequate protection against violence and outrage. Wages should be the result of a free compact, and the contracting parties should look to the law to protect them from force being employed on either side; competition would not, I think, fail to do all the rest. There is a bad practice prevailing in this manufacturing county (Gloucestershire). I am assured by the clothiers that the wages of their men hardly ever vary. When work is slack they cannot find constant employment for their men;—they pay the same for what is done, and employ them all, but perhaps for ¾, or ½, of the day, instead of the whole day. This is in fact the same thing as a fall of the wages to the men, but it is unattended with the slightest advantage either to the master or to the public, and has the pernicious effect of inducing the men to linger in a trade which can no longer support them, and prevents the superfluous labour in one branch of trade from being removed so soon as it otherwise would be to another.
I have not heard of Col. Torrens for a long time. Mr. Mill who was here in September told me that the “Traveller” was succeeding very well.
I fear with you that we shall not have a change of ministers. I wish much that the Whigs were to be tried,—they would I think do something for us, although I confess I do not expect much from them. A Reform of the parliament is the only security we can have for a real reform of abuses, and any thing which shall be fairly entitled to that name, we shall not I think get from the Whigs. They may however do some little good and they would at any rate, if they did not reform the parliament, satisfy us that it could be obtained only by the energy and resolution of the people. Although I am very far from agreeing with Cobbett in most of his opinions, I have long been convinced that our security for good government must rest on the institutions themselves, and the influence under which those who govern us act, and not on the more or less virtue in the characters of our governors. The conduct of two different sets of men educated nearly in the same manner, acting under the same checks, and with the same objects in view, as far as their own personal interest is concerned, cannot be materially different.—With sentiments of great esteem I am most truly Yrs.