518.: mcculloch to ricardo1[Answered by 520] - 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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mcculloch to ricardo
[Answered by 520]
Edinburgh 21st March 1823
My Dear Sir
I was extremely gratified on perceiving you had returned from the Continent, where I had been told you meant to reside for the winter. In this case I confess my gratification did not arise entirely from disinterested motives: I was certainly well pleased that you should be in the H of Commons to support the cause of sound principle and policy; but I was better pleased with the prospect it gave me of seeing you in the end of April or the beggining of May when I mean to make a short trip to London where I have never hitherto been.
I hope you will be satisfied with what I have been dooing since I had the pleasure of hearing from you—I took a private opportunity to send you a little while ago a separate copy of a general article on Political Economy I have written for the Supplement—Being much occupied at the time with the composition of my Lectures, I did not get so much pains and consideration bestowed on it as I could have wished; but I think that in some respects I have set the subject in rather a new point of view, and that it may be of some use—If it be fortunate enough to meet with your approval I shall be satisfied—But if there be, and I am sure there must, points on which your opinions differ from those I have expressed, I beg you will have the goodness to state them, that I may reconsider them—
Mr. Blakes pamphlet has astounded me—I thought that the question of depreciation had been one of the res judicata of Political Economy—one of the few points about which there neither was nor could be a controversy—I agree with Mr. Blake that the first effect of a sudden expenditure on the part of government is to depress the exchange and to cause an export of bullion, provided bullion be at the time the most profitable article of export—But why did the exchange become unfavourable with America and those countries in which we had no extraordinary expenditure? Besides is it not quite visionary to suppose that any expenditure on the part of government could raise the value of bullion in this country for six or seven years without occasioning its importation? Mr. B says (p 8) that when the exchange fell to 10 per cent the transmitting of bullion to the Continent would gain a profit of 8 per cent by selling the bills drawn against it; but they would have done the same with any other species of produce; and there is hardly any whose price would have been so suddenly raised in the home market by exportation as bullion—Much of what Mr. B says about the effect of war expenditure seems also to be very ill-founded. But in judging of questions of exchange I always entertain a very great distrust of my own powers, being totally ignorant of all practical details on the subject; and for this reason I should esteem it as a most particular favour if you could find time to give me a few remarks on Mr. Blakes pamphlet—If his views are just they ought to be still more widely disseminated; but if, as I believe you will think, they are false, their fallacy ought to be exposed—
I finish my Lectures tomorrow—I have had sixty students, which I consider good encouragement indeed—I believe they have been pretty well pleased —
I have written an article for the forthcoming Review on East and West India Sugars which I hope you will approve—It appears to me to be a very important question. I am with the greatest respect and esteem
My Dear Sir Ever truly yours
J. R. McCulloch