Cambridge Library Collection - British and Irish History, 19th Century: Proposals for an Economical and Secure Currency: With Observations on the Profits of the Bank of England, as They Regard the Public and the Proprietors of Bank Stock
David Ricardo's work on currency was published in 1816, and this second edition appeared in the same year. Enormously successful as a stockbroker, Ricardo (1772-1823) was able to lead the life of a wealthy country squire, while his intellectual interests caused him to move in the circles of Thomas Malthus and James Mill. Written at the urging of the Cornish businessman Pascoe Grenfell, MP, who shared Ricardo's interest in financial matters, this work considers the problem of the national debt, in the context of paper money and whether it should in principle be exchanged at face value for gold bullion rather than for minted coins. Ricardo was very concerned at the large profits being made by the Bank of England in its dealings with the government, and suggests here the creation of an independent central bank, a proposal to which he later returned.