Lot 246: Extremely influential classical economist (1722–1823) known for developing the theory of comparative advantage. ALS, one page, 7.25 x 8.75, July 10, 1822. In full: "The small note bill has passed the House of Commons & therefore your suggestion comes too late.—I agree with you that there is a great objection to the present practice of Country Bankers, of which practice I am not aware till I received your letter. It may indeed be urged in their favor that no one is obliged to take their notes if they do not like the conditions on which they are issued, and I suppose that if any real inconvenience was experienced the practical effect would be of substituting coin. I will show your letter to one of the Lords who takes interest in these subjects." In fine condition, with intersecting folds, a trivial stain to the right edge affecting a single word, and small mounting remnants to corners. Accompanied by a beautiful custom-made presentation folder.According to Professor Christophe Depoortere of the University of Paris, this letter was most likely addressed to Thomas Joplin, an English timber merchant and banker. In February of 1822, Joplin had published 'An Essay on the General Principles and Present Practices of Banking in England and Scotland,' calling for the establishment of a joint-stock bank. With a new proposal in the works—'Outlines of a System of Political Economy: To Suggest a Plan for the Management of the Currency'—Joplin reached out to Ricardo in hopes of gaining Parliamentary support for his ideas. The subject of much debate and controversy at that time, "the present practice of Country Bankers" to which Ricardo refers, was the issuance of private notes used for business transactions outside of London. As stated at the start of his letter, the House had just passed a bill restricting their use, and further planning to withdraw them completely by 1823. However, agricultural depression and political pressure resulted in the extension of the small note to 1833. Ricardo recognized the potential economic consequences of removing the notes from circulation, and in 1819 had suggested the continued use of the £1 note. Autographic material from Ricardo is exceedingly rare, this being the first we have offered. A boldly penned letter in superior condition and with important economic content, this is an ideal example.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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