434.: mcculloch to ricardo1[Reply to 433.—Answered by 436] - 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 433.—Answered by 436]
Edinburgh 21 June 1821
My Dear Sir
I had this morning the pleasure to receive your valuable letter of the 18th—I beg to apologise for my mistake in saying that you had joined with Malthus—What I meant to state was that “I did not expect you would so soon have joined him in considering that the employment of machinery might, in certain cases, be disadvantageous”—
You state in your letter that you acknowledge that “machinery would not be erected if it did not produce commodities cheaper than they were produced before its erection”—Now, I confess it appears to me to be quite impossible to hold this sound opinion and at the same time to arrive at your other conclusions—Suppose a manufacturer employs labourers who produce him 100,000 yards of cotton, of which his profit amounts to 10,000, and that he constructs a machine with his capital which will last for ever and which yields him the same profit or 10,000 yards—There would here be a diminution of gross produce; but is it possible that such a diminution could take place without the price of cottons rising? I think it is not—The reasoning in your book (p 473) on this subject does not satisfy me—You have fallen into an error of the same kind that a mechanician would fall into who should neglect to make any allowance for friction—Men do not change employments with the same ease that they walk from a drawing into a dining room—The farmers would unquestionably offer a higher price for their cottons rather than produce them themselves—It does not therefore appear to me to be possible to diminish gross produce without raising prices, without dooing that which you admit a machine never does; and consequently it must result that the hypothesis on which your reasoning is founded can never really occur—
It was not, however, my object in writing you this letter to enter at large on this question, but to inform you that I intend sending an Article to the forthcoming Number of the Review deprecating in the strongest manner the efforts that have been made to induce government again to tamper with the standard of our currency —In this article I would notice Mr. Mushets Tables; but as I am not very familiar with the subject, I would consider your sending me such remarks as occur regarding their accuracy, and the principles on which they are constructed, as would enable an ordinary reader to judge of their value as a most particular favour—I hope you will forgive my taking the liberty to make this request; and as I have but little time to spare I have further to request that you will allow me to hear from you at your earliest convenience—
I hope you will endeavour to come down to Scotland this summer—I think you would not regret dooing so; and, although I am aware that can be no inducement to you, permit me to say that nothing could give me so much pleasure as to have the satisfaction of seeing one to the study of whose works I owe any little success in life I have ever had—
Yours most sincerely
J. R. McCulloch