Front Page Titles (by Subject) 516a.: ricardo to wilmot horton1 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 11 General Index
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516a.: ricardo to wilmot horton1 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 11 General Index 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 11 General Index.
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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 wilmot horton1
Widcomb House, Bath 19 Jany. 1823
My dear Sir
My servant at Gatcomb Park having neglected to send my letters after me, I did not receive your note, with the pamphlets accompanying it, till this morning.
You know I am frequently reproached with being a theorist, and if those who so reproach me, mean that I am not conversant with the practical details of the subjects which have engaged my attention, they are right. The subject of the Poor-laws for instance is one intimately connected with the science of Political Economy, but nobody is so little acquainted with them, as forming a part of parish economy, as I am.
The question you refer to me relates wholly to Parish economy, and therefore I am not qualified to give a good opinion on it.
I can have very little doubt but that the plan2 would be favorable to parishes. With the waste and extravagance of our system of poor laws an able bodied pauper must cost the parishes more than £35.3 It is said in the “Outline”4 that each able bodied pauper costs the parish £10 p-r Ann-m, but against this must be set the value of the work which such pauper may be made to do for the parish, and also the general saving in the wages of labour which accompany the present system. If the farmer who pays £10, saves £5 in the wages of the rest of his workmen, his real contribution is only £5, and the real saving to the parish will be only a like sum.
With every emigrant we are to divest ourselves of £35 capital. If employed at home, with that portion of capital, he could replace it with a profit, England would be a loser by the proposed plan. The enemies of the plan will say that he could do so, and if they could make that appear I would rather adopt their plan, than the one recommended.
At the present moment however we are to compare the emigration plan to the system actually existing, and I can have no doubt that it would be attended with great advantages over it. The plan would be economical; it would enable us to get rid of the most objectionable part of the poor laws, the relieving able bodied men; and what is to me by far the most important consideration, it could not fail to make the wages of labour more adequate to the support of the labourer and his family, besides giving him that as wages which is now given to him as charity.
I told you how incompetent I was to say any thing worthy of your attention on this subject and I have now convinced you of it.
Believe me Very truly yours
If you wish to have the pamphlets returned I will give them to you when we meet in London.
[1 ]MS in Central Library, Derby: it was located by Mr R. N. Ghosh (Economica, 1963, p. 47 n.).
[2 ]The plan was to mortgage the poor rates in order to finance the emigration of paupers to Upper Canada.
[3 ]The sum calculated as necessary to get a man to Canada and keep him until he was self-supporting.
[4 ]Outline of a Plan of Emigration to Upper Canada (printed, but not published, Jan. 1823).