484.: mcculloch to ricardo3[Reply to 483.—Answered by 486] - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823.
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mcculloch to ricardo
[Reply to 483.—Answered by 486]
Edinburgh 12 Feby 1822
My Dear Sir
I am very much pleased by what you say of my article on Money, though I always suspect that in you I have a very indulgent critic—You would perceive from last Scotsman that my opinion respecting the causes of the agricultural distress entirely coincided with your own—This distress unquestionably arises from the low price of the principal articles of farming produce, and it is an utter absurdity to suppose that low price can ever be caused by excessive taxation—I do not know but I should be of your opinion—for I assure you I always differ from you with the greatest pain—respecting the state of the country, if we had got rid of the Corn laws; but so long as they are maintained I do not see how it is possible to escape great fluctuations of price; and when prices are factitiously increased to a high level in a country like this, with so large a manufacturing population, the greatest distress must inevitably be the result—If the price of corn were next year to rise to 100/ a quarter, which is no improbable supposition, we should certainly have another radical rebellion—Neither do I think that our prosperity can ever rest on a firm basis while our taxation is so oppressive—We should not forget the example of Holland—The greatness of her commerce long concealed the effects of the canker that was preying on her vitals; but low profits ultimately proved too heavy a drawback on her prosperity to be counterpoised—Why should not like causes be in England productive of like effects?
I have promised to write an article for the forthcoming Review on the comparative effects of high and low taxes on the Revenue. In this article I should like to notice as particularly as I could the effects which the different taxes have had on the revenue in Ireland—Sir John Newport made some curious statements on this subject in the course of last session; but as I have no acquaintance with the Hon. Bart. I should be extremely obliged to you, if you would endeavour to procure from him what information he possesses on this subject that I may embody it into the Review—Though you may not know Sir John yourself some of your friends will know him, and I trust that the importance of the subject, and the object which I have in view will apologise for the trouble to which I am putting you—As I must have the article ready in a short time, be so good as [to] send me the papers, in the event of your procuring them, by the Mail—
Some of our Police Commissioners leave this for London in a day or two when I shall send one of my manuscript Lectures; I have some more prepared but they are so ill written that I cannot think of asking you to look at them untill I get them rewritten—If the Police bill introduced by the Magistrates of this City be allowed to pass into a law it will be a most shameful act—Out of a population of 130,000 I do not in my conscience believe that it is approved by 130 persons—You have no idea what depredations have been committed by the agents of our Police; and because the Commissioners elected by the inhabitants have detected these frauds, and exposed them, and reduced the expenses of the establishment to about a half of what it formerly was, the one half of their constituents are to be disfranchised, and the whole power vested in the hands of ex officio Commissioners appointed by the Town Council—that is, by a body with whom the inhabitants have no more concern than they have with the Congress of Buenos Ayres—I trust to your goodness to excuse me for putting you to all this trouble, and I remain with the greatest respect and esteem and regard
Yours ever faithfully
J. R. McCulloch