On Sraffa’s Various Introductory Comments in the Ricardo Edition as influence…

The Trinity 2.0 arrangement of Sraffa’s Notes on PCMC is an organic interfaced archive combining the Bharadwaj-Garegnani (BG) and Wren Trinity arrangements. We will have a lot to say about this in upcoming posts, but at this stage it is important to know that the methodology of the arrangement takes as its cue the manner which Sraffa handled archival material of David Ricardo and developed his Ricardo Edition, the masterful eleven volumes of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo.

Especially insightful is the way Sraffa presents the Ricardo Correspondence, and once we begin to explore this we discover that it is no accident the title to Works includes the Correspondence, because presented here is a truly masterful scholarly treatment of David Ricardo’s correspondence. We are fortunate to have the material of the Ricardo Edition available to us on the web, through the website at the Online Library of Liberty from the Austrian website Liberty Fund.  The subtitle to the Online Library of Liberty is ‘A Collection of Scholarly Works about Individual Liberty and Free Markets’. It is ironic that an Austrian free market worshipping website is more open with the scientific literature than heterodox economists have been!  But I digresss…

To get a good idea of how we plan to go about the Trinity 2.0 arrangement, it is suggested that interested readers consult all of Sraffa’s various Introductory Notes that appear throughout the 11 volumes of the Works, and especially the Introductory notes that are in Volume VI which begins the Ricardo Correspondence, the subject of volumes VII, VIII, and IX.  In Table 1 below we have three of the main excerpts from Sraffa’s arrangement of the letters in Volume VI.

Table 1: Excerpts from Sraffa’s Introductory Notes from Works VI (see below Table 8 for complete Introductory Notes)

Preface to Volumes VI-IX
I. Ricardo’s Correspondence, p. xiii.
IV. The Letters in the Present Edition, p. xxxviii

In these Introductory notes Sraffa tells us how he arranges the letters, and the methodology and rationale behind his manner of exposition.  Specifically, what is of interest is how Sraffa numbers each letter and indicates from whom it came and to whom it is going. There is an interesting Table on page xiv of Works VI that breaks down the letters into the various correspondents, data which we can aggregate:

Table 2: Data on the Breakdown of the Ricardo Correspondence (Works VI, p. xiv)

Total % Total (to + from) To From to/from
Malthus 30.09% 167 92 75 1.227
Jas. Mill 19.28% 107 58 49 1.184
Trower 17.84% 99 54 45 1.2
Other 16.04% 89 44 45 0.978
McCulloch 13.69% 76 41 35 1.171
Say 3.06% 17 7 10 0.7
555 296 259 1.143
53.33% 46.67%

From these aggregate data, we see that the Ricardo correspondence consists of 555 letters, 30% of which are from correspondence with Malthus, 19% from James Mill, etc. on down the second column.  From the last column we see that Ricardo responded more than he received, the exception being the exchange with Say.

Sraffa numbers the letters from 1 to 555 consecutively and arranges them in chronological order.   He tells us the rationale for this in the Introductory Notes to Works VI:

“In contrast with previously published collections, the letters to and from the various correspondents have been arranged in single chronological series. The reader is thus placed as it were behind Ricardo’s desk at Gatcomb Park and reads the letters as Ricardo writes them or receives them” (Sraffa, Works VI, p. xiv)

It is this feeling of being ‘placed behind the desk’ that the Trinity 2.0 arrangement attempts to impart on the reader, here of course the desk being that of Sraffa’s at Trinity College, perhaps in his Private Room at Neville’s Court or maybe his office at the Marshall Library.  And yes this is a monumental task, because as we will see with the Sraffa papers, complete chronological order is not possible as there is tremendous zig-zagging going on analytically throughout the material.  Fortunately for us the new technology allows for us to deal with this, especially in terms of the ability to hyperlink notes, etc.

This is the attempt that is being made with the Trinity 2.0 arrangement of Sraffa’s Notes on PCMC, archived as D3/12 according to Wren Trinity.  So that readers of Heretical Sraffa can be as up-to-speed as possible, and for all of us to be on the same page methodologically, below are tables that have the links to Sraffa’s various Introductory comments throughout his Ricardo edition.  Readers are encouraged to go through these commentaries to see the manner which we conceive of the handling of Sraffa’s own archival material as being influenced by the way he handled that of Ricardo.

Sraffa’s Various Introductory Notes and Comments in his Ricardo

Table 3: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume I: Principles of Political Economy

I. The Writing of the Principles, p. xiii.
II. James Mill’s Contribution, p. xix.
III. Arrangement and Subdivision, p. xxii.
IV. The Chapter On Value in Edition 1, p. xxx.
V. Principal Changes in Chapter On Value in Eds. 2 and 3, p. xxxvii.
VI. Edition 2, p. xlix.
VII. Edition 3, p. liii.
VIII. The Present Edition, p. lx.

 Table 4: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume II: Notes on Malthus

Section I
Section II
Section III
Section IV
Section V

 Table 5: Works Volume III: Pamphlets and Papers, 1809-1811 

Prefatory Note to Volumes III and IV
Notes on the Bullion Essays
Appendix to the ‘Price of Gold’
Notes on ‘Notes on Bentham’
Notes on ‘Notes on the Bullion Report’
Notes on ‘Notes on Trotter’
Notes on ‘Observations on Trower’s Notes on Trotter’
Notes on ‘Observations on Vansittart
Appendix: ‘Mr. of the Bullion Report
Appendix: TABLES OF CORRESPONDING PAGES for Ricardo’s Pamphlets in the original editions, 1811, McCulloch’s edition (Works, 1846 etc.), Gonner’s edition (Economic Essays, 1923 etc.), and the present edition.
Appendix: Reply to Mr. Bosanquet’s Practical Observations

 Table 6: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume IV: Pamphlets and Papers, 1815-1823

Notes on ‘Essay on Profits’
Notes on ‘Economical and Secure Currency’
Note on ‘Funding System’
Note on ‘Protection to Agriculture’
Note on ‘Plan for a National Bank’
Notes on Fragments on Torrens
A Note on Prices and Taxation 1821
Notes on the Papers on Blake
Note on ‘Absolute Value and Exchangeable Value’
Appendix: The ‘Ingenious Calculator’
Appendix: TABLES OF CORRESPONDING PAGES for Ricardo’s Pamphlets in the original editions, 1815–24, McCulloch’s edition (Works, 1846 etc.), Gonner’s edition (Economic Essays, 1923 etc.), and the present edition

 Table 7: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume V: Speeches and Evidence

List of Speeches
Prefatory Note
Introduction to the Speeches in Parliament
Notes on the Evidence on the Resumption of Cash Payments
Note on Two Papers on Parliamentary Reform

 Table 8: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volumes VI-IX (Letters; Sraffa’s Introductory Notes all in Volume VI)

Preface to Volumes VI-IX
I. Ricardo’s Correspondence, p. xiii.
II. The Main Correspondents: James Mill , p. xv
II. The Main Correspondents: Malthus, p. xviii
II. The Main Correspondents: McCulloch, p. xxi
II. The Main Correspondents: Trower, p. xxiii
II. The Main Correspondents: Say, p. xxv
III. Other Correspondents: Bentham, p. xxviii
III. Other Correspondents: Maria Edgeworth, p. xxxii
III. Other Correspondents: Grenfell, p. xxxiii
III. Other Correspondents: Grote, p. xxxiii
III. Other Correspondents: Horner, p. xxxiv
III. Other Correspondents: Murray, p. xxxv
III. Other Correspondents: Place, p. xxxv
III. Other Correspondents: Sharp, p. xxxvi
III. Other Correspondents: Sinclair, p. xxxvii
III. Other Correspondents: Tooke, p. xxxvii
III. Other Correspondents: Wakefield, p. xxxviii
IV. The Letters in the Present Edition, p. xxxviii

 Table 9: The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Volume X: Biographical Miscellany

Note on the Authorship of the Memoir of Ricardo
Addenda to the Memoir of Ricardo:  I. Introductory
Addenda…:  II. The Family of Abraham Ricardo
Addenda…:  III. The Delvalle Family
Addenda…:  IV. Ricardo’s Childhood and Education
Addenda…:  V. Independence and Marriage
Addenda…:  VI. The Wilkinsons
Three Notes: (1) Where Ricardo lived in London
Three Notes: (2) A Note on Clubs and Societies
Three Notes: (3) A Note on Portraits
A Family’s Who’s Who:  I. David Ricardo’s Brothers and Sisters
A Family’s Who’s Who:  II. Ricardo’s Children
Ricardo in Business: I. As a Jobber on the Stock Exchange
Ricardo in Business:  II. As Loan Contractor

Ricardo in Business:  II.Loans for Great Britain and Ireland: 1805-1820

Ricardo in Business:  II.Notes on the Table Overleaf

Ricardo in Business: III. A Canard
Ricardo in Business: IV. Investment and Estates
Ricardo in Business:  V. Ricardo’s Will
A Selection of Family and Private Letters: I. Early Letters to J.H. Wilkinson
A Selection of Family and…: II. ‘Ricardo’s Letter to the Old Doctor’
A Selection of Family and…: III: The Fraud of 5 May 1803
A Selection of Family and…: IV: The Loan of 1807
A Selection of Family and..: V: Jacob Ricardo
A Selection of Family and…: VI: Two Sisters Decline a Present
A Selection of Family and…: VII: A Visit to Cambridge
A Selection of Family and…: VIII: A Letter to a Wine Merchant
A Selection of Family and…: IX: The Cumberland Affair
A Selection of Family and…: X: A Servant and Two Masters
A Selection of Family and…: XI: Fanny’s Marriage
A Selection of Family and…: XII: Ricardo to Miss Mary Ann
From Maria Edgeworth’s Letters to Her Family
Introductory Note to the Journal of a Tour on the Continent
Appendix: (A) Bibliography of Ricardo’s Works
Appendix: (B) A Survey of Ricardo Manuscripts
Appendix: (B) A Survey of Ricardo Manuscripts: Ricardo Papers
Appendix: (B) A Survey of Ricardo Manuscripts: Mill-Ricardo Papers
Appendix: (C) Commonplace Books
Appendix: (D) Ricardo’s Library
Supplement to Volume I: New Evidence on the Subdivision of Chapter VIII of the ‘Principles’ of 1817
Supplement to Volume IV: Notes on ‘A Reply to Mr. Say’s Letter to Mr. Malthus
Corrections to the First Printing of the Previous Volumes

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Scott Carter

Associate Professor of Economics The University of Tulsa Oklahoma USA

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