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3.: reception - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 1 The Theory of Moral Sentiments 
The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie, vol. I of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982).
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Early comment and foreign translations
Smith’s reputation in Scotland was already established before 1759. The publication of TMS made him known and esteemed both in England and abroad. The immediate success of the book is delightfully described by Hume, writing from London in Letter 31, dated 12 April 1759. After a teasing tale of alleged interruptions to his letter, he finally reaches the point, prefacing it with a reminder that popular opinion is worthless, as if to console Smith for a coming disappointment.
Supposing, therefore, that you have duely prepard yourself for the worst by all these Reflections; I proceed to tell you the melancholy News, that your Book has been very unfortunate: For the Public seem disposed to applaud it extremely. It was looked for by the foolish People with some Impatience; and the Mob of Literati are beginning already to be very loud in its Praises. Three Bishops calld yesterday at Millar’s14 Shop in order to buy Copies, and to ask Questions about the Author: The Bishop of Peterborough said he had passed the Evening in a Company, where he heard it extolld above all Books in the World. You may conclude what Opinion true Philosophers will entertain of it, when these Retainers to Superstition praise it so highly. The Duke of Argyle is more decisive than he uses to be in its Favour: . . . Lord Lyttleton says, that Robertson and Smith and Bower are the Glories of English Literature. Oswald15 protests he does not know whether he has reap’d more Instruction or Entertainment from it: . . . Millar exults and brags that two thirds of the Edition are already sold, and that he is now sure of Success. . . .
Charles Townsend, who passes for the cleverest Fellow in England, is so taken with the Performance, that he said to Oswald he wou’d put the Duke of Buccleugh under the Authors Care, and woud endeavour to make it worth his while to accept of that Charge. . . .
At the beginning of the letter Hume says that he sent copies of the book to the Duke of Argyll, Lord Lyttelton, Horace Walpole, Soame Jenyns, and Edmund Burke (‘an Irish Gentleman, who wrote lately a very pretty Treatise on the Sublime’). Their names, and also those of Charles Townshend and ‘Mr. Solicitor General’ (i.e. Charles Yorke, referred to in Hume’s second letter below), are included in a list of recipients of complimentary copies that heads Letter 33, sent by Andrew Millar to Adam Smith on 26 April 1759. Hume wrote again to Smith on 28 July (Letter 36) to report further reactions.
I am very well acquainted with Bourke, who was much taken with your Book. He got your Direction from me with a View of writing to you, and thanking you for your Present: For I made it pass in your Name. I wonder he has not done it: . . . I am not acquainted with Jennyns; but he spoke very highly of the Book to Oswald, . . . Millar show’d me a few days ago a Letter from Lord Fitz–maurice; where he tells him, that he had carryd over a few Copies to the Hague for Presents. Mr. Yorke was much taken with it as well as several others who had read it.
I am told that you are preparing a new Edition, and propose to make some Additions and Alterations, in order to obviate Objections.
Hume then proceeds to give Smith his own objection about sympathy, which we have discussed in section 2(a) above. The contemplation by Smith (and presumably Millar) of a second edition so soon after the publication of the first is a further mark of the book’s success.
Burke did write to Smith, but not until the autumn. Meanwhile Smith had received additional testimony of the warm reception in London. William Robertson wrote to him from Edinburgh on 14 June (Letter 34):
Our friend John Home arrived here from London two days ago. Tho’ I dare say you have heard of the good reception of the Theory from [m]any different people, I must acquaint you with the intelligence Home brings. He assures me that it is in the hands of all persons of the best fashion; that it meets with great approbation both on account of the matter and stile; and that it is impossible for any book on so serious a subject to be received in a more gracious manner. It comforts the English a good deal to hear that you were bred at Oxford, they claim some part of you on that account.
In July 1759 a notice of the book appeared in the Monthly Review (xxi.1–18). It was unsigned, as was customary, but it has been identified as the work of William Rose.16 After some general introductory remarks on moral philosophy, he writes:
The Author of the work now before us, however, bids fairer for a favourable hearing than most other moral Writers; his language is always perspicuous and forcible, and often elegant; his illustrations are beautiful and pertinent; and his manner lively and entertaining. Even the superficial and careless Reader, though incapable of forming a just judgment of our Author’s system, and entering into his peculiar notions, will be pleased with his agreeable manner of illustrating his argument, by the frequent appeals he makes to fact and experience; and those who are judges of the subject, whatever opinion they may entertain of his peculiar sentiments, must, if they have any pretensions to candor, readily allow, that he has supported them with a great deal of ingenuity.
The principle of Sympathy, on which he founds his system, is an unquestionable principle in human nature; but whether his reasonings upon it are just and satisfactory or not, we shall not take upon us to pronounce: it is sufficient to say, that they are extremely ingenious and plausible. He is, besides, a nice and delicate observer of human nature; seems well acquainted with the systems both of antient and modern moralists; and possesses the happy talent of treating the most intricate subjects not only with perspicuity but with elegance.—We now proceed to give some account of what he has advanced.
Then follows extensive quotation or summary of Smith’s argument covering all six Parts of the book. When the reviewer gives Smith’s criticism of utilitarian theory in Part IV, he names Hume as the target. A concluding paragraph reverts from quotation to appraisal and ends as follows:
The last part of the Theory will be peculiarly agreeable to the learned reader, who will there find a clear and distinct view of the several systems of moral philosophy, which have gained any considerable degree of reputation either in antient or modern times; with many pertinent and ingenious reflections upon them. The whole work, indeed, shews a delicacy of sentiment, and acuteness of understanding, that are seldom to be met with; and what ought particularly to be mentioned, there is the strictest regard preserved, throughout, to the principles of religion, so that the serious reader will find nothing that can give him any just ground of offence.—In a word, without any partiality to the author, he is one of the most elegant and agreeable writers, upon morals, that we are acquainted with.
The Monthly Review was owned and edited by Ralph Griffiths. In Letter 48 addressed to William Strahan, dated 4 April 1760, Smith asks to be remembered to Griffiths and adds: ‘I am greatly obliged to him for the very handsom character he gave of my book in his review.’
Burke wrote a review that was more handsome still, for his periodical, the Annual Register. But first he sent a letter to Smith on 10 September 1759 (Letter 38), in which he gave his opinion at greater length and added some criticism. It will be remembered that Hume had expected Burke to thank Smith for a complimentary copy of TMS. In his letter Burke apologizes for the delay, pleading business and saying that he wanted to read the book ‘with proper care and attention’ before writing. He then shows that he has indeed read it and reflected on it with care.
I am not only pleased with the ingenuity of your Theory; I am convinced of its solidity and Truth; and I do not know that it ever cost me less trouble to admit so many things to which I had been a stranger before. I have ever thought that the old Systems of morality were too contracted and that this Science could never stand well upon any narrower Basis than the whole of Human Nature. All the writers who have treated this Subject before you were like those Gothic Architects who were fond of turning great Vaults upon a single slender Pillar; There is art in this, and there is a degree of ingenuity without doubt; but it is not sensible, and it cannot long be pleasing. A theory like yours founded on the Nature of man, which is always the same, will last, when those that are founded on his opinions, which are always changing, will and must be forgotten. I own I am particularly pleased with those easy and happy illustrations from common Life and manners in which your work abounds more than any other that I know by far. They are indeed the fittest to explain those natural movements of the mind with which every Science relating to our Nature ought to begin. . . . Besides so much powerful reasoning as your Book contains, there is so much elegant Painting of the manners and passions, that it is highly valuable even on that account. The stile is every where lively and elegant, and what is, I think equally important in a work of that kind, it is well varied; it is often sublime too, particularly in that fine Picture of the Stoic Philosophy towards the end of your first part which is dressed out in all the grandeur and Pomp that becomes that magnificent delusion. I have mentioned something of what affected me as Beauties in your work. I will take the Liberty to mention too what appeared to me as a sort of Fault. You are in some few Places, what Mr Locke is in most of his writings, rather a little too diffuse. This is however a fault of the generous kind, and infinitely preferable to the dry sterile manner, which those of dull imaginations are apt to fall into. To another I should apologise for a freedom of this Nature.
Burke’s review in the Annual Register (year 1759, pp. 484 ff.) repeats some of the comments made in the private letter. After some general introductory remarks about ‘this excellent work’ in which ‘the parts grow so naturally and gracefully out of each other’, the review goes on:
There have been of late many books written on our moral duties, and our moral sanctions. One would have thought the matter had been exhausted. But this author has struck out a new, and at the same time a perfectly natural road of speculation on this subject. . . . We conceive, that here the theory is in all its essential parts just, and founded on truth and nature. The author seeks for the foundation of the just, the fit, the proper, the decent, in our most common and most allowed passions; and making approbation and disapprobation the tests of virtue and vice, and shewing that those are founded on sympathy, he raises from this simple truth, one of the most beautiful fabrics of moral theory, that has perhaps ever appeared. The illustrations are numerous and happy, and shew the author to be a man of uncommon observation. His language is easy and spirited, and puts things before you in the fullest light; it is rather painting than writing.
Charles Townshend, referred to in Hume’s first letter, had married the widowed Countess of Dalkeith and was therefore the stepfather of the young Duke of Buccleuch. Townshend did eventually carry out the plan that Hume describes, of asking Smith to act as tutor to the Duke, on terms tempting enough for Smith to give up his Professorship at Glasgow. That is how Smith visited France and Geneva in 1764–6, and how he was able to retire thereafter to Kirkcaldy and devote himself to writing WN.
Townshend was not alone in being led by TMS to think of using Smith’s services as a teacher. Lord Buchan says he went to Glasgow after St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Oxford in order to learn from Smith and John Millar; but since this was in 1760 and since Millar’s appointment at Glasgow began in 1761, Buchan must in fact have been attracted in the first place by the reputation of Smith alone.17 Another student who came from Oxford, in 1762, was Henry Herbert, later Lord Porchester.18 Some came from farther afield. Théodore Tronchin, the celebrated physician of Geneva who attended Voltaire among others, sent his son to Glasgow in 1761, expressly ‘to study under Mr. Smith’.19
The international reputation of TMS is borne out by part of the resolution adopted by the University of Glasgow on 1 March 1764 accepting the resignation of Adam Smith, ‘whose uncommon Genius, great Abilities and extensive Learning did so much Honour to this Society; His elegant and ingenious Theory of Moral Sentiments having recommended him to the esteem of Men of Taste and Literature thro’out Europe’.20 The last two words are a pardonable exaggeration, but certainly in France the book was soon applauded.
The Journal encyclopédique for October 1760 carried a notice consisting of a short extract followed by some favourable comment, perhaps echoing that of the Monthly Review.
Cet Ouvrage Nous a paru recommandable par la force et la chaleur de son style, par la beauté et la noblesse des sentimens, par la nouveauté et la justesse des reflexions, par le ton imposant des raisonnemens; mais ce qui le rend encore plus précieux, c’est que tout y respire la vertu la plus pure, et que la Religion y est par–tout respectée.21
Hume went to France in 1763 as Secretary to the British Embassy, and shortly after his arrival he wrote to Smith from Fontainebleau in Letter 77, dated 28 October 1763: ‘The Baron d’Holbac, whom I saw at Paris, told me, that there was one under his Eye that was translating your Theory of moral Sentiments; and desird me to inform you of it: . . .’ This was Marc–Antoine Eidous, who had also translated Hutcheson’s Inquiry into Beauty and Virtue. His rendering of TMS appeared in 1764 under the title Métaphysique de l’âme. A contemporary note in F.–M. de Grimm’s Correspondance littéraire (Part I, vol. iv, 291 f.) says that the work did not have any success in Paris to match its reputation in Britain, but that this was due to the defects of the translation and was no argument against its merit.22
However, Parisians of literary tastes were perfectly capable of reading TMS in English. The Abbé Morellet records that he did so.23 The Comtesse de Boufflers–Rouverel wrote in a letter of 6 May 1766 to Hume that she had begun to read TMS and thought she would like it.24 There is another record, a few years later, of the interest of Madame de Boufflers and of other Parisians in TMS. Gilbert and Hugh Elliot, the young sons of Sir Gilbert Elliot, were in Paris in 1770, and a letter from Hugh describes a visit to Madame de Boufflers.
She received us very kindly, and spoke about all our Scotch and English authors; if she had time, she would set about translating Mr. Smith’s Moral Sentiments—‘Il a des idées si justes de la sympathie.’ This book is now in great vogue here; this doctrine of sympathy bids fair for cutting out David Hume’s Immaterialism, especially with the ladies, ever since they heard of his marriage.25
Another member of the French nobility who contemplated, and indeed began, a translation of TMS was Louis–Alexandre, Duc de La Rochefoucauld–d’Anville, a descendant of the author of the Maximes. He abandoned the task after completing Part I, because of the appearance of a translation by the Abbé Blavet.26 Blavet’s translation was of edition 3 (1767) and was published in 1774–5. Yet another French translation, of edition 7 (1792), appeared in 1798. This was by Sophie de Grouchy, widow of Condorcet, who appended some essays of her own (in the form of letters) on the topic of sympathy.
Eckstein (intro. xxxii ff.) has brought together evidence of the reception of TMS in Germany. Lessing mentions the book in his celebrated work on aesthetics, Laokoon (1766), quoting a passage, in his own translation, from I.ii.1. Herder makes several references to it, the earliest one being in his aesthetic work, Kritische Wälder (1769). The first German translation was of edition 3 and appeared in 1770. The name of the translator is not stated but he was in fact Christian Günther Rautenberg, who had already translated Lord Kames’s Principles of Morality and Natural Religion.
It seems that Kant knew and valued TMS, judging from a letter of 1771 written to him by one Markus Herz. A passage in this letter speaks of ‘the Englishman Smith, who, Mr. Friedländer tells me, is your favourite’ (Liebling), and then goes on to compare the work of Smith with ‘the first part’ of ‘Home, Kritik’, no doubt meaning Elements of Criticism by Henry Home, Lord Kames. As Eckstein points out, the date of 1771 (too early for WN and one year after the publication of the first German translation of TMS) and the comparison with Kames show that the writer must have had TMS in mind. The passage also suggests that Herz at least, like Lessing and Herder, was interested in the relevance of TMS to aesthetics. It is unlikely, however, that Kant’s own regard for the work will have been thus confined. Eckstein goes on to note that there is a passage in Kant’s Reflections on Anthropology where Kant writes of ‘the man who goes to the root of things’ and who looks at every subject ‘not just from his own point of view but from that of the community’ and then adds, in brackets, ‘the Impartial Spectator’ (der Unpartheyische Zuschauer).
A second German translation, by Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten, was published in 1791, presumably made from edition 4 or 5. Kosegarten produced a supplementary volume in 1795, containing a translation of the main additions of edition 6, and of the whole of Part III as revised for that edition.
A third German translation, that of Walther Eckstein, appeared in 1926. This is more than a translation. It contains a careful record of practically all the revisions of substance that were made in the different editions of TMS; it is annotated in detail; and its long Introduction is a valuable contribution to knowledge. The work is indeed the first scholarly edition of TMS, and its scholarship is of a high order. We are greatly indebted to it as the starting–point for many of our own notes and for some of the information given in our Introduction.
A further German translation by Elisa von Loeschebrand–Horn was published in 1949 as the first volume of selections from the works of Adam Smith, edited by Hans Georg Schachtschabel. We have not seen this version, but the description of the edition and the length of the volume concerned (338 pp.) suggest that it does not include the whole of TMS.
In Russia Smith was well known as an economist, little as a moral philosopher. One of his Russian pupils, however, Semyon Desnitsky, who later became a Professor of Law at Moscow University, made some use of TMS (and much of LJ) in his lectures. In a work of 1770 he said that he hoped to publish a Russian translation of TMS, but for some reason he did not carry out the intention.27 A Russian translation by P. A. Bibikov appeared in 1868.
A Spanish translation by Edmund O’Gorman was published in Mexico in 1941. A Japanese translation by Tomio Yonebayashi was published in 1948–9 and was reprinted in 1954. See also p. 402 below.
1. Editions of TMS
Editions authorized by Adam Smith (all imprinted London and Edinburgh):
Ed. 1, 1759; ed. 2, 1761; ed. 3, 1767; ed. 4, 1774; ed. 5, 1781; ed. 6, 2 vols., 1790.
Other editions (this list is almost certainly incomplete):
Dublin, 1777 (called ‘the sixth edition’); ed. 7, 2 vols., London and Edinburgh, 1792; Basel, 1793; ed. 8, 2 vols., London, 1797; ed. 9, 2 vols., London, 1801; ed. 10, 2 vols., London, 1804; 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1808; Glasgow, 1809; London, 1812; 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1813; Boston, 1817; Philadelphia, 1817; New York, 1821; 2 vols., New York, 1822; 2 vols., London, 1825; London, 1846; Edinburgh, 1849; London, 1853; London, 1861; London, 1871; Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in or before 1876; London, 1880; Boston and New York, 1887; London, 1887; London, 1892; Edinburgh, 1894; London, 1907; London, 1911; Kyoto, 1961; New York, 1966; New Rochelle, N.Y., 1969.
TMS is also published in vol. i of The Works of Adam Smith, London, 1812; reprinted, Aalen, 1963; in vol. i of The Whole Works of Adam Smith, London, 1822; in vols. iv–v of The Works of Adam Smith, London, 1825; and in Essays, Philosophical and Literary, London, 1869; reprinted, New York, in or before 1876; reprinted, London, 1880.
1. Métaphysique de l’âme: ou Théorie des sentimens moraux [translated by Marc–Antoine Eidous]; 2 vols., Paris, 1764.
2. Théorie des sentimens moraux, translated by l’Abbé Blavet; 2 vols., Paris, 1774–5; reprinted, Paris, 1782.
3. Théorie des sentimens moraux, translated from ed. 7 by Sophie de Grouchy, Marquise de Condorcet; 2 vols., Paris, 1798; reprinted, Paris, 1820; revised ed., Paris, 1830; republished with introduction and notes by Henri Baudrillart, Paris, 1860.
1. Theorie der moralischen Empfindungen, translated from ed. 3 [by Christian Günther Rautenberg]; Braunschweig, 1770.
2. Theorie der sittlichen Gefühle, translated and edited by Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten; Leipzig, 1791: vol. ii, containing the additions to ed. 6; Leipzig, 1795.
3. Theorie der ethischen Gefühle, translated (from ed. 6 but including variants in earlier eds.) and edited by Walther Eckstein; 2 vols., Leipzig, 1926.
4. Theorie der ethischen Gefühle, translated by Elisa von Loeschebrand–Horn (vol. i of Smith, Werke, selected and edited by Hans Georg Schachtschabel); Frankfurt, 1949.
Teoriya Nravstvennykh Chuvstv, translated by P. A. Bibikov; St. Petersburg, 1868.
Teoría de los sentimientos morales, translated by Edmund O’Gorman, introduced by Edward Nicol; Pánuco, Mexico, 1941.
Dōtoku Jōsō Ron, translated by Tomio Yonebayashi; 2 vols., Tokyo, 1948–9; reprinted, Tokyo, 1954. See also p. 402 below.
This list is restricted to books and published theses that contain a substantial treatment of Smith’s ethical thought. (Even as such it is no doubt incomplete.) It does not include articles nor, except incidentally, books dealing with his other writings. Readers who wish to supplement it should consult the bibliographies in: Eckstein, i.lxxiv ff; The Vanderblue Memorial Collection of Smithiana (Baker Library, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration; Boston, 1939): Burt Franklin and Francesco G. M. Cordasco, Adam Smith: A Bibliographical Checklist; critical writings and scholarship on Smith, 1876–1950 (New York, 1950); and Keitaro Amano, Bibliography of the Classical Economics, Part I (Science Council of Japan, Economic Series No. 27; Tokyo, 1961).
The most important works concerned with the ‘Adam Smith problem’ have been listed in section 2(b) above.
Thomas Brown, Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. iv; Edinburgh, 1820. Reprinted in Lectures on Ethics; Edinburgh, 1846.
Victor Cousin, Cours d’histoire de la philosophie morale aux dix–huitième siècle, vol. iii, École écossaise; Paris, 1840.
August Oncken, Adam Smith und Immanuel Kant; Leipzig, 1877.
Witold von Skarżyński, Adam Smith als Moralphilosoph und Schoepfer der Nationaloekonomie; Berlin, 1878.
James Anson Farrer, Adam Smith; London, 1881.
Richard Zeyss, Adam Smith und der Eigennutz; Tübingen, 1889.
Wilhelm Paszkowski, Adam Smith als Moralphilosoph; Halle, 1890.
Johannes Schubert, Adam Smith’s Moralphilosophie; Leipzig, 1890 and 1891.
Ethel Muir, The Ethical System of Adam Smith; Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1898.
Johan Gerrit Appeldoorn, De Leer der Sympathie bij David Hume en Adam Smith; Drachten, 1903.
Albion Woodbury Small, Adam Smith and Modern Sociology; Chicago, 1907.
Ludovico Limentani, La morale della simpatia; Genoa, 1914.
Giovanni Pioli, L’etica della simpatia nella ‘Teoria dei Sentimenti Morali’ di Adamo Smith; Rome, 1920.
Glen Raymond Morrow, The Ethical and Economic Theories of Adam Smith; New York, 1923.
James Bonar, Moral Sense; London and New York, 1930.
Manuel Fuentes Irurozqui, El moralista Adam Smith, economista; Madrid, 1944.
Luigi Bagolini, La simpatia nella morale e nel diritto; Bologna, 1952; ed. 2, revised and extended, Turin, 1966.
Giulio Preti, Alle origini dell’ etica contemporeana: Adamo Smith; Bari, 1957.
Alec Lawrence Macfie, The Individual in Society; London, 1967.
Thomas Douglas Campbell, Adam Smith’s Science of Morals; London, 1971.
 Andrew Millar, the publisher.
 James Oswald, a friend of Smith’s from boyhood.
 Benjamin C. Nangle, The Monthly Review, First Series, 1749 1789, Indexes of Contributors and Articles (Oxford, 1934), 199.
 Cf. John Rac, Life of Adam Smith (London, 1895), 51–2. Rae is, however, mistaken when he says (58) that admiration for TMS induced the future Earl of Shelburne (Lord Fitzmaurice) to send his brother Thomas to study under Smith. Lord Fitzmaurice advised his father to do this in 1758 on the suggestion of Sir Gilbert Elliot, and Thomas Fitzmaurice was in residence at Glasgow early in 1759 before TMS appeared (see Letter 27 to Smith from Elliot, dated 14 November 1758, and Letter 28 from Smith to Lord Fitzmaurice, dated 21 February 1759).
 Scott, ASSP, 68, 293 n.3.
 Rae, Life, 59.
 Scott, ASSP, 221.
 Quoted by the Abbé Blavet in the preface (vii–viii) of his translation of TMS.
 Eckstein, intro. xxi n. 1; cf. Rae, Life, 196.
 Rae, Life, 197.
 J. H. Burton (ed.), Letters of Eminent Persons addressed to David Hume (Edinburgh and London, 1849), 237–8; cf. Rae, Life, 198.
 Countess of Minto, A Memoir of Hugh Elliot (Edinburgh, 1868), 13; cf. Rae, Life, 199. The report of Hume’s marriage was an unfounded rumour.
 Corr., Letter 194 from the Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Smith, dated 3 March 1778.
 A. H. Brown, ‘Adam Smith’s First Russian Followers’, in the volume of Essays on Adam Smith (edited by Andrew S. Skinner and Thomas Wilson) accompanying the present edition of Smith’s Works.