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On David Ricardo (1772-1823)

A. Heertje

<plain_text><page sequence="1">On David Ricardo (1772-1823)* Professor A. HEERTJE (University of Amsterdam) 1. Introduction David Ricardo was born in April 1772, and published his treatise on economics, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, in April 1817. He was just 45 years old and had recently retired from the Stock Exchange, where he had earned a large fortune.1 From 1812 he had lived at 56 Upper Brook Street in the West End of London and after 1814 he divided his time about equally between London and his country house in Gloucestershire, Gatcombe Park, which incidentally now belongs to the distinguished statesman Lord Butler. David Ricardo was the father of eight child? ren, the eldest, Osman, being 23 years old and the youngest, Birtha, seven in 1817, the year of the publication of the Principles. Ricardo was born a Jew in 1772 in the City of London, the third child of Abraham Ricardo and Abigail Delvalie. On 20 December 1793 he married Priscilla Anna Wilkinson, the daughter of a Quaker, after which he can no longer be considered to belong to the Jewish com? munity.2 At the time of the publication of the Principles he was a Unitarian. The printing of the first edition of the Prin? ciples began at the end of February 18173 and 750 copies were issued. During his lifetime a second edition was published in 1819, of which 1,000 copies were printed, and a third in 1821, also consisting of 1,000 copies. These numbers indicate that Ricardo's book became a success within rather a short time. The book, however, is by no means a popular one. It is difficult both from the point of view of composi? tion and style and from that of economic theory. Ricardo did not plan the Principles in the sense that he had a framework in his mind before he started writing, but, as Sraffa puts it, . . he wrote according to the sequence of his own ideas'.4 Ricardo was a far better thinker than writer on economics.5 His treatment of economics is less descriptive than, for example, Adam Smith's treatment in the Wealth of Nations. James Mill, who knew Ricardo from about 1806, pressed him to write his Principles in order to contribute to the body of political economy and he also had a political career for Ricardo in mind. Already in 1814 Mill was writing to Ricardo that he might be of. . great use to a favourite science, and to a most important department of practical politics, which al? together depend upon that science, ought to be * Text of a lecture given to the Jewish Historical Society of England at University College, London, on 19 April 1972. I should like to express my deepest thanks to all those who gave their time and support in helping to prepare this lecture. In particular, I am grateful to David Weatherall, who helped me with its composition and who also corrected my English. Of my Dutch friends, I wish to offer my warmest thanks to Mr. E. Schoorl and Mr. J. Zwier, who did very important work in the archives of Amsterdam and were lucky enough to discover the will and estate of Joseph Israel Ricardo, David Ricardo's grandfather. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to the vast knowledge of Dr. S. Hart, of the Amsterdam municipal archives, especially with regard to the labyrinth of notarial archives. This discovery is one of the principal elements of this lecture. The final text has been improved through comments by Prof. Dr. H. Baudet, Prof. Dr. P. Hennipman, Dr. A. S. Rijxman, and Mr. J. B. Polak. 1 Compare a curious pamphlet by a practical jobber, The Art of Stock Jobbing Explained, seventh edition (London, 1817), p. 49, in which it is stated 'A noted Jew, who has now, it is said, retired from the scene of action, has accumulated a fortune of 800,0001.; and this is all done by buying and selling property belonging to the public' This may be an allusion to David Ricardo. 2 See for the main facts about Ricardo's life the well-known edition of his works by P. SrafTa, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo (Cambridge, 1951-1955 and 1973), Vols. I-XI. 3 See A. Heertje, 'Two Letters from James Mill to Jean-Baptiste Say', History of Political Economy, 1971, pp. 414-418. 4 SrafTa, I, page xxii. 5 Compare Mill's letter to Ricardo of 22 Dec? ember 1815: Tor as you are already the best thinker on political economy, I am resolved you shall also be the best writer', SrafTa, VI, p. 340. 73</page><page sequence="2">74 Professor A. Heertje sufficient motive with him, to improve every hour and every moment, nay to place himself in that situation in which his tongue, as well as his pen might be of use'.6 Ricardo himself made the prospect of a career in Parliament depend on the success of his book; this can be concluded from his letter to Mill of 20 December 1816: T do not readily fall in with your suggestions respecting a seat in Parliament: I fear I should be mere lumber there. From the trials which I have already made I am sure I should never be able to deliver my sentiments on any subject in debate, and I cannot perceive in what other way I could be in the least useful. If my book succeeds, as you promise me, perhaps my ambition may be awakened, and I may aspire to rank with senators, but at present I have the greatest awe for the distinguished persons who figure in St. Stephens. If you are indeed right in your prognostications, if I am really to be the author of a book of merit, I shall bow to your superior discernment. Let me however first be convinced that you are not a partial judge, and do not view my perform? ance through the medium of a too friendly bias.'7 As is well known, Ricardo entered the House of Commons in the spring of 1819 and was a member till his death in 1823. He reckoned himself to belong neither to the Tories nor to the Whigs, and was later described as a 'moderate oppositionist' and as somebody who 'voted on the side of the people'.8 His speeches in Parliament mostly dealt with economic subjects, but important exceptions were the speeches on religious toleration that he made in 1823, one of which led to an exchange of letters with Isaac Lyon Goldsmid.9 When Ricardo published his Principles of Political Economy he was already a well-known author, above all on the subject of the currency. Thus the publication of the Principles did not happen suddenly or accidentally. It was the culmination of a long series of events, the earlier writings on economics and the dazzling career on the Stock Exchange, which is not independent of the Jewish environment and background of David Ricardo. He was led to write on the currency, his brother Moses said, because of the . . immense transactions which he had with the Bank of England'. In particular, he studied the difference which existed between the value of the coin and the bank notes and he wanted to 'ascertain from what cause the depreciation of the latter arose'.10 The chief transactions he had with the Bank of England were those of a loan contractor. 2. Ricardo on the Stock Exchange Government expenditure is partly financed by means of loans. In Ricardo's days these loans were raised by contractors, operating on the Stock Exchange, who competed for the loan. Each contractor formed a list of sub? scribers, who were associated with him and who took a share in the loan. It was in 1806 that the names of John Barnes, James Steers, and David Ricardo were first found among the would-be contractors, bidding on behalf of their list from the Stock Exchange.11 There were then loans every year until the end of the Napoleonic war, and the biggest of the loans was raised on 14 June, just four days before the Battle of Waterloo. Among the four contractors was the Stock Exchange list of Barnes, Steers, and Ricardo. The terms were very favourable to the lenders, and Ricardo, who invested a * Sraffa, VI, p. 138. ? Sraffa, VII, pp. 113-114. 8 Sraffa, V, page xix, based on the Globe and Traveller of 16 September 1823. ? Sraffa, V, pp. 277 and 324; in his letter to Goldsmid, Ricardo wrote: 'The Jews have most reason to complain, for they are frequently re? proached for the dishonesty, which is the natural effect of the political degradation in which they are kept. I cannot help thinking that the time is ap? proaching, when these ill-founded prejudices against men, on account of their religious opinions will disappear and I should be happy if I in any way should be a humble instrument in accelerating their fall', Sraffa, IX, p. 278. 10 Sraffa, X, p. 7; 'A Memoir of David Ricardo', The Annual Biography and Obituary for the year 1824, Volume VIII, London, 1824, pp. 368-377; SrafFa's suggestion that the Memoir was written by David's brother Moses (1776-1866) is confirmed by a recently discovered letter of James Mill to McGulloch of 10 January 1824, 'You have probably seen the account of him in the Annual Obituary which has been written by his brother Moses'. n Sraffa, X, p. 79.</page><page sequence="3">On David Ricardo (1772-1823) 75 large amount in the stock, made a large profit after the victory. In all, he was a successful contractor in seven loans. But it is noteworthy and illustrative of the detached scientific reasoning of Ricardo that while his grandfather, his father, and he had enriched themselves on the Stock Exchange, he held a negative view of the existence of any public debt at all.12 Ricardo was employed on the Stock Exchange by his father at the age of 14, in 1786, and by the beginning of 1793 he was doing some business there on his own. He was what was called a stock jobber, one of those who dealt on their own account. The stock jobber phase was crucial in the development of David Ricardo. It led directly to the loan contractor and the economist; and it came directly from his ancestral tradition. During the reign of George III (1760? 1820) the Jewish community held a less alien position than before, although the influx of Jews from the Continent tended to maintain their foreign character. But Jews such as Benjamin and Abraham Goldsmid became important financiers and especially after Waterloo the Jewish community had improved its economic position, which also led to a higher ranking in social and cultural life.13 Thus during Ricardo's lifetime the position of the Jews rose steadily, notwithstanding the absence of legislative action. This environment helped to make him a financier. His heredity helped too; and perhaps his heredity helped more. What his heredity means can clearly be shown in the history of his family at Amsterdam. 3. Ricardo's Jewish Background The Jewish heritage can be traced through five generations. Previous to those, all that can be said is that the family came from Spain or Portugal, probably around 1593, when Jews were invited by the Grand Duke of Tuscany to settle in the free port of Leghorn. The earliest ancestor of whom we know anything certain is Samuel van Mozes Israel, whose burial in 1692 is registered at the Sephardic burying ground at Ouderkerk, near Amsterdam. According to the municipal archives at Amsterdam, the profession of his son Benjamin was 'Koraalmaker' (coral-worker), which then meant 'jeweller', which suggests that his father, Samuel, may also have been a 'jeweller'. David Ricardo in 1822 noted the excellence of the jewellers' shops in Leghorn. Then some time between 1660 and 1670 Samuel van Mozes Israel left Leghorn, and together with other Portuguese Jews went to join the great Sephardic community of Amsterdam. Among the Marranos, the Ricardos were relative latecomers. In the second half of the sixteenth century the Spanish Inquisition became very severe on the seemingly converted Jews and, after the Spanish General Parma conquered the greater part of Flanders, partic? ularly severe in Antwerp. As a result, many fled to the north. Some historians have even attributed the rise of Amsterdam to the influx of Jews. This view is no longer held, but it is clear that the Jews had an important share in the rise of the mercantile city. As an example, from the foundation of the Amsterdam Wisselbank in 1609 till 1620, the initial total number of 731 accounts was not even doubled, while the original number of 24 accounts kept by Portuguese Jews was more than quadrupled, to 106.14 As a rule, the Sephardim were more well-to do than the Ashkenazim. As bankers, they were accepted in the upper strata of Dutch Society and some maintained good relations with the House of Orange, a few of them even being knighted. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the wealth of the Sephardic community suffered some decline, in which the Ricardos do not seem to have shared. David Ricardo, however, later had to support a poor relative in The Hague. David Israel, of Leghorn, the son of Samuel, was born in Leghorn in 1652 and married Strellia Amadios on 14 August 1692. He was a 12 Compare Hansard, New Series, Vol. VII, p. 665; Vol. VIII, p. 220; see also E. L. Hargreaves, The National Debt (London, 1930), p. 139, and P. H. Emden, Jews of Britain (London, 1943), p. 56. 13 See for further details C. Roth, A History of the Jews in England (Oxford, 1964), pp. 224-266. 14 Compare H. Brugmans and A. Frank (Eds.), Geschiedenis derJoden in Nederland (Amsterdam, 1940).</page><page sequence="4">76 Professor A. Heertje 'coopman' (merchant), which illustrates the rise of the family. He and his brothers used the name Israel, most of them being described as 'of Livorno', and not by the name Ricardo. This name began to be used after 1720, in the form of Israel Ricardo, and during the second half of the eighteenth century the name Israel gradually disappears. As is well known, it was common practice to use a civil name together with a synagogue name. Around 1700, the name Ricardo also turns up in cases where it probably does not belong to relatives but is carried as a Koopman's 'alias'. This stems from the habit of doing business under different names in order to lead the Inquisition astray. Once in Amsterdam, the Ricardos became active members of the Sephardic community. 4. Ricardo's Grandfather Joseph Israel Ricardo, the son of David Israel, was the grandfather of the later econ? omist. He was born in 1699 in Amsterdam and died in 1762. In 1721 he married Hannah Abaz. who died in 1781.15 Much new evidence has been found on Joseph Israel Ricardo in the municipal archives of Amsterdam. Besides the information on his private life, the discovery of the exact figures of his transactions on the Amsterdamsche Wisselbank is of some importance. The complete description of his estate also gives some insight into his financial and social position. The list, amounting to 1,534 guilders, seems typical of a not too wealthy eighteenth-century bourgeois family. The linen seems more than complete (e.g., 52 sheets and 64 shirts). Except for the Standing clock valued at 100 guilders, and the Sabbath lamp valued at 161 guilders, there are no pieces of furniture of notable value. There is some silver, there are candlesticks, forks and spoons, but no knives, and of course two silver salt-cellars. Owning two coffee-pots and two teapots, the family followed the eighteenth century fashion. But there is no mention of a tobacco pot, which could have pointed to the other new fashion of the time. His marriage contract with Hannah Abaz in 1721 stipulated that he brought in all his goods and that Hannah brought in a thousand guilders cash, and jewellery and clothes to the value of a thousand guilders. After the death of Abraham Abaz, Hannah's father, three of his heirs disposed of three quarters of the house in the Weesperkerkstraat to Joseph Israel Ricardo; and he got a fourth part by hereditary law because Hannah was the fourth heir. Although his estate in 1762 clearly shows his large interest in English stock, we can only guess what his dealings included. One important reference can be found in the letter-book for 1757 and 1758 of a British-paid commissariat in the Seven Years War for the troops serving under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick. Joseph Israel Ricardo was one of the Continental agents of the commissary, then David Mendes da Costa.16 Although we must be very careful not to make too broad a generalisation from the dealings of one person, the transactions of Joseph Israel Ricardo illustrate one of the last boom periods of the Amsterdam capital market at the time of the Seven Years War. Altogether, three periods can be distinguished in his transactions at the Wisselbank.17 15 SrafTa writes that Joseph married twrice, the first marriage being in 1721 to Hannah Israel, the second in 1727 to Hannah Abaz. This must be considered an error. The certificate of marriage of Joseph Israel Ricardo and Hannah Abaz in the municipal archives is dated 31 January 1721 and in the Portuguese archives it is dated 8 Sebat 5481; the error is understandable. In the archives of the Portuguese Synagogue Hannah Abaz is named Hannah Israel. After her name was written 'Gijoret', which means 'Christian converted to Judaism'. It is quite possible that in view of the old Dutch style of writing the year 1721 may have been misinterpreted as 1727. 16 The letter-book is now in the British Museum. The document referred to by H. I. Bloom (Sraffa, X, p. 19) is interpreted by Sraffa as an official one. It must be noted, however, that Joseph Israel Ricardo's name does not figure in the list of members of the brokers' guild. 17 Compare J. G. van Dillen, Van Rijkdom en Regenten (Den Haag, 1970), pp. 596ff., and 'The Bank of Amsterdam', reprint from the History of the Principal Public Banks (1930). Van Dillen makes it clear that the period of the Seven Years War was very profitable for the commerce of the Republic and that around 1760 the bank system was highly developed in Amsterdam.</page><page sequence="5">On David Ricardo (1772-1823) 77 (a) 1743-1750, the annual turnover during these years did not exceed 2,000 guilders, with the exception of 7,600 guilders for the first half of 1745. (b) 1750-1758, the annual turnover was between 10,000 and 20,000 guilders. (c) 1758-1762. In the last years of his life, transactions showed a rapid growth to 112,000 guilders in 1761 and 54,000 in the first half of 1762. Also, from 1757 onwards a whole page is reserved for his entries in the ledgers of the Wisselbank under a new number. Until then, the annual number of his entries being under twenty, he had to share a page with other holders of small accounts.18 Joseph Israel Ricardo was thus a man of substance when he died in June 1762 in Amsterdam. According to his will, the bene? ficiaries were his wife, his children, and his grandchild Rachel da Silva Curiel. There were also two legacies: one of/200 (/ = guild? ers) to the 'Sedaca' (fund for poor members of the Jewish community), with the stipulation that every year on the Day of Atonement and on the Sabbath following the anniversary of his wife's death the prayer 'Ascabah' should be read for him and his wife; and the other of 7"100 to the Abi Tetomim (aid for orphans). The executors, Mozes Raphael Hisquia da Vega and David Israel Ricardo, authorised, among others, Emanuel Fernandes and Abraham Ricardo in London to act on their behalf on the London stock market. His capital was in English stocks: the 4% and 3% Funds, the stock of the United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, the stock of the South Sea Company, and the capital and principal stock of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England: the total sum amount? ing to ?8,000. After the death of da Vega the new executors were Abraham da Vega, Samuel Israel Ricardo, and Mozes Israel Ricardo, the last two being uncles of the economist. His daughter Ribca received a legacy of 4,500 guilders minus what she had already received during her father's life. This legacy had to be paid after the death of Hannah Abaz. As, however, Ribca died in 1770 and Hannah in 1781, the legacy had to be paid in 1781 to Ribca's children. According to the will of Joseph Israel Ricardo, the executors would have to be the guardians of his heirs under age. The guardians of Ribca's children bought half of the house in the Weesperkerkstraat. The other half was bought by Rehuel Lobatto, the widower of Ribca. When Lobatto died in 1789, the executors of the will of Joseph Israel Ricardo and the executors of Lobatto's will sold the house to Salvador Bonaguetti Fano for 5,012 guilders. Since this house was in the possession of the family when David Ricardo was in Amsterdam, it is likely that he paid a visit there. 5. Ricardo's Father Abraham Israel Ricardo was born in Amsterdam on 19 September 1738. He was the youngest son of Joseph Israel Ricardo, who had three other sons and two daughters. Abraham became a stockbroker, like two of his brothers. He spent his youth in Amsterdam and like his brothers, gave financial support to the Talmud Tora and Ets Haim. Ricardos, however, were not inclined to stay at home. They not only settled in The Hague and in London but also went to North and South America and Curasao. The son of David Hizkiau Ricardo (1730-1778)," Mordechay Ricardo (1771-1842), went to Curacao and became the protector of Simon Bolivar. His sister Rebecca Ricardo was the mother of the well-known Dutch poet Isaac Da Costa (1798-1860). But David Hizkiau Ricardo stayed in Holland, and in 1765 was able to buy a country house near Maarssen for 4,000 guilders. During the Seven Years War (1756-1763) the Dutch invested enormous amounts in English Funds. Many firms had agents in London to manage their investments, and one of the agents in 1760 was Abraham Israel Ricardo. And in 1760, when he was still a bachelor, he seems to have decided that his 18 Compare this with Cantillon's position, as described by R. Hyse, 'Richard Cantillon, Financier to Amsterdam,' The Economic Journal (1971), p. 816. 19 Brother of Abraham Ricardo.</page><page sequence="6">78 Professor A. Heertje future lay in England. He continued to act as an agent, but soon began business on the London stock market in his own right. It seems certain that it was financial rather than social considerations that prompted his deci? sion; and it was not in any event a hasty decision, for he was still a Dutch citizen, though living in London, when on 30 April 1769 he married Abigail Delvalle, the daughter of a Sephardic family which had been estab? lished in England for three generations. Then in 1770 he became a denizen; and in 1773 he was appointed to one of the twelve brokerships allotted to Jews in the City of London.20 When David Ricardo was born his father was thus an Englishman; and when he was a boy an established London stockbroker; but he was also a prominent figure in the Sephardic community of London. He was elected to serve as Parnas in 1785, 1789, 1798, and 1802.2* He died in 1812, eleven years after his wife, leaving a fortune of about ?45,000. 6. Ricardo's Education David Ricardo was born on 18 April 1772, the third son. After him six girls and eight more boys were born. Till 1792 the family lived in the City and in that year they moved to Bow. About his youth very little is known. In 1824 a memoir of David Ricardo was published by his brother Moses. From this we quote the following: . . in point of education [he] had the same disadvantages which are usually allotted to those who are destined for a mercantile line of life. When very young, he was sent to Holland. His father, who had designed him to follow the same business in which he was engaged, and whose transactions lay chiefly in that country, sent him there not only with a view to his becoming acquainted with it, but also that he might be placed at a school of which he entertained a very high opinion. After two years' absence he returned home, and con? tinued the common school-education till his father took him into business. At his intervals of leisure he was allowed any masters for private instruction whom he chose to have; but he had not the benefit of what is called a classical education ... In the early days of Mr. Ricardo but little appeared in his intellec? tual progress, which would have led even an acute observer to predict his future eminence. But after having seen him attain that station, they who have passed through life with him from his boyish days now bring to their recollection circumstances, which though overlooked as trivial at the time, serve to show that the plentiful harvest was the natural consequence of a generous spring'.22 It is perhaps of some interest to compare this type of education with that given to Isaac dTsraeli (1766-1848). His father, also a London stockbroker, hoped his son would carry on the family business. In 1780 Isaac was sent to stay with his father's agent in Amsterdam and studied there under a private tutor. This tutor ran a private school, but had really only an appearance of learning: DTsraeli's parents were taken in by him. Yet the young Isaac learned a lot through browsing in his tutor's library, and what he learned left a permanent impression. He made little or no progress with Greek and Latin, but began to acquire a considerable knowledge of modern lan? guages.23 According to a letter of Maria Edgeworth of 14 November 1821 Ricardo's education appears to have been remarkably similar. She writes that Ricardo told her: 'My father gave me but little education. He thought reading, writing and arithmetic sufficient because he doomed me to be nothing but a man of business, he sent me at eleven to Amsterdam to learn Dutch, French and Span? ish. But I was so unhappy at being separated from my brothers and sisters and family, that I learned nothing in two years but Dutch which I could not help learning'.24 David lived from 1783 to 1785 in Amsterdam in the house of one of his uncles, probably Samuel. Assuming that David went to the Portuguese Synagogue, it is of some interest 20 Sraffa, X, p. 22. 21 A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London, 1951), pp. 437-439. 22 SrafTa, X, pp. 3-4. 23 J. Ogden, Isaac d'Israeli (London, 1969), p. 9. 24 Maria Edgeworth, Letters from England, edited by Christina Calvin (Oxford, 1971), p. 266.</page><page sequence="7">On David Ricardo (1772-1823) 79 to quote in full the description by John Aikin, who in 1784 visited Amsterdam and the synagogue. 'Amsterdam appeared to be about a third the size of London. We went first to the Jews Quarter, a number of streets, inhabited solely by this people, who are confined to it. It is extremely populous and full of odd faces and dresses. We stepped into the Portuguese Jews' Synagogue, a very fine large building. It was the Sabbath and we stayed part of the service, which was reading the Hebrew psalter. One man on a kind of stage, railed around, read in a sort of chanting tone, and every now and then this congregation joined in, making a strange discordant clamour. Many were conversing together, and the appearance of the assembly was as far as possible from indicating reverence or devotion. The men had all a sort of towel wrapped round them. The women were in a sort of gallery, scarcely visible. We also saw the German Synagogue which is not so large in this town. The Jews look sharp, designing, dark: the women frequently hand? some, though brown, with black wanton eyes and lively features. Among the old men were several excellent Shylock faces.'25 There is a possibility that the school to which David Ricardo was sent was the great Amsterdam Talmud Torah. But there is no evidence in favour of this possibility in the archives at Amsterdam. It is a fact that one of the managers of the Talmud Torah in 1784 was Dr. Immanuel Capadose, who was de? scribed by David Ricardo in 1822 as 'a very friendly man, whom I knew when I was in Holland'.26 But the Ricardo and Capadose families had had business relations for genera? tions and this fact alone is inconclusive. On balance it seems more likely that David Ricardo was educated at a private school, in Amsterdam as in London, like the young Isaac dTsraeli. From an intellectual point of view he was a late-flowering person; and though already in his youth he showed 'a taste for abstract and general reasoning'27 there is no evidence of a systematic education and development, so that his natural intellectual gifts were only expressed in his financial operations. These financial operations, how? ever, enabled him in his 25th year to study for himself mathematics, chemistry, and geology; and then in his 28th year he came more or less by accident upon The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith. It was the decisive stage in the education of the economist. Ten years later the first of his publications, the anonymously written article 'The Price of Gold', appeared in the Morning Chronicle. 7. Marriage David Ricardo's family moved from the City to Bow in 1792. Their house in Bow was not far from that of a Dr. Edward Wilkinson. The Wilkinsons were Quakers and the Quakers at that time suffered many of the civil handicaps suffered by the Jews. Hence they were natural allies. Priscilla Wilkinson and David Ricardo met, fell in love, and married: married against the wishes of both families. 8. Ricardo and religion According to Lord Hardwick's Act of 1753 all marriages in England had to be performed in the established Church, except for Jews and Quakers; and since David Ricardo had renounced his Jewish faith and Priscilla Wilkinson had been disowned by the Quakers, they were married on 20 December 1793 in their parish church of St. Mary's, Lambeth. But this did not mean that Ricardo was baptised as a member of the Church of England; and though the births of all his children were registered with the Society of Friends, he never was a Quaker. For several years after the marriage he seems occasionally to have attend? ed Quaker Meetings28 and then he was drawn 25 This passage is from his Travel Diary of 1784. John Aikin was a doctor and Benjamin d'Israeli was one of his patients. His family were Unitarians. He knew Maria Edgeworth and in later life he was the editor of a General Biography in ten volumes. 26 Letters written by David Ricardo during a Tour on the Continent (London, 1891), p. 21; Sraffa, X, p. 210. 27 Ibid., p. 205. 28 Compare the anonymous note in the Sunday Times of21 September 1823.</page><page sequence="8">80 Professor A. Heertje to the Unitarians. As is well known, the Unit? arians do not accept the dogma of the Trinity. In 1809 he became a 'hearer' at 'Mr. Aspland's Chapel in Hackney'.29 With the established Church his relations were always less clearly defined. In 1808, when he was living at Bromley St. Leonard's, he was elected churchwarden; but though the churchwarden had to take an oath on the whole Bible, the office was of more secular than religious significance. The position of High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, to which he was nominated in 1817, was, however, more difficult for him. It was customary for the High Sheriff to take Corporate Communion; and Ricardo showed very clearly that he did not want to take Corporate Communion. He went to the length of obtaining counsel's opinion on the point, which was to the effect that he was excused by the Toleration Acts. Then in 1819 he entered Parliament, and took the oath on 'the true faith of a Christian'. A Unitarian of course considers himself a Christian, although he denies the divinity of Christ; and there can be no doubt that David Ricardo felt himself to be a Unitarian. But his wife did not share his views and it was said of him towards the end of his life that 'when he attended public worship at all, it was usually at church'.30 Certainly he was buried with the rites of the established Church. His attitude towards matters of religion may be illustrated by the following quotation, taken from his speech in Parliament on 26 March 1823: 'All religious opinions, however absurd and extravagant, might be conscien? tiously believed by some individuals. Why, then, was one man to set up his ideas on the subject as the criterion from which no other was to be allowed to differ with impunity? Why was one man to be considered infallible, and all his fellow-men as frail and erring creatures? Such a doctrine ought not to be tolerated: 'It savoured too much of the Inquisition to be received as genuine in a free country like England. A fair and free dis? cussion ought to be allowed on all religious topics.' William Wilberforce, who spoke after Ricardo, made the following entry in his diary : T had hoped that Ricardo had become a Christian; I see now that he has only ceased to be a Jew.'31 Defining a Jew as a man who professes the Jewish religion, David Ricardo had of course 'ceased to be a Jew'. But there was also his Jewish heritage. In October 1822 he went to Leghorn, where together with his wife and daughters he visited the synagogue, 'which is a very beautiful one;?we saw a manufactory of coral beads, and polishing pieces of coral and fitting them for necklaces'.32 I cannot avoid thinking that Ricardo's feelings dwelt for some time on his great-grandfather Samuel van Mozes Israel, the necklace-maker, who around 1660 went from Leghorn to Amsterdam. 9. Conclusion Ricardo is the real founder of the science of economics, in the sense that he derives his conclusions from clearly formulated sup? positions. Modern economics can to a large extent be conceived of as a collection of models, in which on the basis of axioms and hypotheses propositions are derived by means of abstract reasoning and mathematics. This method was used by Ricardo, although he did not make use explicitly of mathematics. His liberal attitude in life in general is also an aspect of his scientific opinions, as his conclusions change as soon as he introduces a different supposition from which the reasoning starts. Ricardo is never a dogmatic author. This can perhaps be illustrated best by the fact that on the one hand he is one of the main representatives of classical political economy, together with Adam Smith and Malthus, and on the other hand to a certain extent a forerunner of Marx and of Lassalle. For both Ricardo's labour theory of value and his ideas on the effects of machinery on the labouring classes were taken up by another Jew, whose father had abandoned his faith, 29 Sraffa, X, p. 40. 30 Sunday Times, 21 September 1823. 31 See Sraffa. V, p. 280, and compare W. B. Whitehead, Prosecutions of Infidel Blasphemers briefly indicated in a letter to David Ricardo (London, 1823). 32 Sraffa, X, p. 322.</page><page sequence="9">On David Ricardo (1772-1823) 81 to construct one of the most influential theories on the development of capitalism in the history of economics. The link between Karl Marx and David Ricardo, which I cannot discuss in greater detail, is remarkable, as Ricardo belonged to the classical school in economics, founded on the idea that God's invisible hand made for harmony and optimum welfare. Ricardo, however, also paved the way for the creator of the conflict model in economics, in the form of a description of the struggle between workers and capitalists.33 Marx quoted Ricardo's famous phrase: 'Machinery and labour are in constant competition.' The idea that the workers suffer from the intro? duction of machinery is one of the main elements in the theory of Karl Marx. In our days this aspect of the economic theories of both Ricardo and Marx is of more importance than the labour theory of value, which has moved so many pens. A man who knows how to combine conflict and harmony in his vision of the world and of society may be called a liberal in the true sense of the word. Ricardo was such a liberal. The final sentences of his last letter to Malthus, from whom he often differed sharply in opinion, read as follows: 'And now, my dear Malthus, I have done. Like other disputants after much discussion we each retain our own opinions. These discussions however never influence our friendship; I should not like you more than I do if you agreed in opinion with me.'34 Ricardo's tolerance in this way so dominated his personality that despite the fact that he expressed ideas that conflicted with those of others his attitude and character expressed the harmony that is the prerequisite for a better world. 33 We leave aside here the conflict between the workers and capitalists in Ricardo's economics. 34 Letter of 31 August 1823, SrafTa, IX, p. 382.</page></plain_text>