Front Page Titles (by Subject) 499.: ricardo to trower1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 9 Letters 1821-1823
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499.: ricardo to trower1 - 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 trower1
London 20 May 1822
My Dear Trower
I will follow your advice and take care not to expose myself to the resentment of the Farmers when Parliament breaks up. If they knew their own interest well they would feel no resentment against me, because the measures which I have proposed2 would make their trade a much more secure one than it can be under the operation of the present, or of the amended, law. I believe it will be a good time at the end of the Session to put in execution a project which I have long entertained, of making a short tour with my family on the Continent. I shall probably go as far as Switzerland, and after an absence of a couple of months seek my own retirement in Gloucestershire. My constant attendance in the House, and the little anxiety which the part I have taken on the Corn question naturally has excited makes a little rest and recreation necessary—I think I shall enjoy my journey, and shall improve my health by it.—
Mr. Huskisson and I did not exactly join our forces; he abandoned his resolutions in the Committee, and I adopted those of them which laid down the correct principles, and added to them my own practical measure, which I argued was more consonant with his principles than the one which he recommended. Lord Althorp proposed a permanent duty of 20/- on the importation of Wheat, and a permanent drawback of 18/- on the exportation of Wheat, which was supported by Brougham. On what principle either the proposer or supporter of such resolutions could proceed I know not, nor have either of them ventured to expound it to the House.
You have no doubt seen Mr. Turner’s Pamphlet1 —he sent it to me with a very kind note, hoping he said that it was written in the fair spirit of criticism. On that score I have nothing to complain of, but he has failed to convince me of a single error in principle in the work which he attacks. Is it not strange that a writer in the present day should say that rent is a cause of high price and not the effect of it?
“The extra rents to the landlord are not the measure of the whole loss sustained by the public in consequence of the Corn law,” says M’Culloch,2 and to this doctrine you demur. I apprehend he means to say that the loss to the country is a real one. It must not be supposed that because the landlords get a high price, which is paid by the consumer, the whole inconvenience to the country is an improper and unjustifiable transfer of property—it is much more than this, the landlord does not gain what the consumer loses—there is a real diminution of production, and the real loss is to be measured by such diminution of production, without any regard to price or value.
Mrs. Ricardo and I were sorry not to see you on the last evening you were in London, but we acknowledge that your charge was too important to be neglected.
The South Sea Plan3 has failed so I need say nothing on that point. We shall see what ministers will do to raise the £2,200,000 pr annm.—
I wish you were in the House to give me support in attacking the fallacious arguments for monopolies and restricted trade which are daily brought forward. I do my best, but that is bad enough:—it is difficult to express oneself in terms sufficiently familiar to be understood by those who either understand nothing on these subjects, or who have imbibed prejudices to which they obstinately adhere. I am a very bad speaker, and am sorry to say I do not improve—I have not one good supporter; there are some who understand the subject but they are on the ministerial bench, and dare not always speak as they think.—
Very truly Yrs
[1 ]MS at University College, London.—Letters to Trower, LVII.
[2 ]Ricardo’s Resolutions on Foreign Corn, above, V, 158–9.
[1 ]Considerations upon the Agriculture, Commerce, and Manufactures of the British Empire; with Observations on the Practical Effect of the Bill of the Right Hon. Robert Peel, for the Resumption of Cash Payments by the Bank of England; and also upon the Pamphlet lately published by David Ricardo, Esq., entitled, Protection to Agriculture. By Samuel Turner, F.R.S., London, Murray, 1822.
[2 ]Edinburgh Review, Feb. 1822, Art. VI, ‘Agricultural Distress—Causes—Remedies’, pp. 474–6 (in substance).
[1 ]To amend the Poor Laws.
[2 ]Relating to Gaols, Bridewells and Houses of Correction, presented in the House of Commons on 13 May 1822.
[3 ]The South Sea Company had at first been willing to take up the annuities to be issued for the Naval and Military Pensions but subsequently changed their mind. (See above, V, 160 and 191 and Hansard, N.S., VII, 784.)