497.: ricardo to mcculloch3[Reply to 495] - 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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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 mcculloch
[Reply to 495]
London 7 May 1822
My Dear Sir
I like your article on the Corn Laws in the Review very much.—I am glad to find that we so nearly agree, in all our views, respecting the pernicious influence of those laws. I am sure that they will ultimately be repealed;—the growing knowledge of the country will enable every one to see that freedom of trade in corn is of the greatest importance to its welfare.
I have read your lectures with great satisfaction. Your defence of manufactures against the attacks which are incessantly directed against them, is excellent. I believe with you that our manufacturing population is as moral as the agricultural and certainly much better informed. Adam Smith’s view on this subject is I think very defective. —
I have looked for faults, and not for beauties, in your lectures—I have been able to find very few that appear to me to be such, and where I do find them, they are chiefly on points, on which a little difference of opinion exists between us. I have marked the passages in the papers, and you will be able very easily to refer to them.
1 You say “The demand for labour must increase as the capital of the country increases, and it must diminish as the capital diminishes.” This is not absolutely true—I may build myself a workshop or construct a steam engine with my savings—I should thereby increase my capital, but the year following I might employ no more labour.
2 “While she does this (augment her capital) she will always have a constantly increasing demand for labour, and will be constantly augmenting the produce of her land and labour, and of course also her people.”
Remark. The same as the last.
3 “And the capitalist who can invest capital so as to yield a profit of 10 pct. has it equally in his power to accumulate twice as fast as the capitalist who can only obtain 5 pct. for his capital.”
Remark. This is understated—he could do more than accumulate twice as fast. Out of two loaves I may save one, out of four I may save three.
4 —Remark. He could not give employment to additional workmen.
5 —Remark. This may be misunderstood—less is not consumed—you acknowledge that all is consumed; but it is consumed by a different class, by the reproductive instead of the unproductive.—
6 “The interests of individuals is never opposed to the interests of the public.”
In this I do not agree. In the case of machinery the interests of master and workmen are frequently opposed. Are the interests of landlords and those of the public always the same? I am sure you will not say so.
7 Remark. I deny that we should be able to employ the workmen displaced by the employment of machinery.
These are all the remarks I have to offer against any of the passages in your lectures; in favor of them I could make many, but that is unnecessary. They are very clear, and cannot fail to convince.—
Mr. Inglis dined with me on Saturday—he appears to be an intelligent agreeable man—I am sorry that my occupations will prevent me from seeing him so often as I could wish. I will return your papers by him.—
I am now going to the House to fight the best battle I can against the Country gentlemen. —I am very badly supported,—even Bennet and Ellice give me little hopes of dividing with me.
I have requested Sir J Newport and Mr. Hume to send you whatever information they may have respecting tithes—they promise to furnish me with some for you, and I shall not fail to remind them of their engagement.
I do not quite agree with you about reverting at once to a free trade in corn.—The price of corn is indeed low, but land has not gone out of cultivation. It would I think be desirable that the process by which it should be made to go out should be very slow—you would otherwise make the situation of the farmer irretrievable—he would be ruined past redemption.—
Yrs. very truly