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Editorial policy - 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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In the preparation of a critical edition of a work from printed books, bibliographical scholars of the present day attach great importance to the principles laid down by Sir Walter Greg in his paper, ‘The Rationale of Copy–Text’, first published in Studies in Bibliography (University of Virginia), vol. iii (1950), and reprinted in W. W. Greg, Collected Papers, edited by J. C. Maxwell (Oxford, 1966). In that paper Greg drew, and explained the importance of, the distinction between the two kinds of variants to be found in the different editions of a book, changes in substantives and changes in accidentals. So long as one is dealing with editions which can be assumed to have received revision by the author, changes in substantives can usually, though not always, be attributed to him, while changes in accidentals (of books printed some considerable time ago) can often, but again certainly not always, be attributed to the printer. Consequently, bibliographical scholars recommend that, in order to elicit a text that gives the nearest possible approach to the author’s intentions, the editor of a critical edition should, in the absence of a manuscript, make the first edition of a work his copy–text; he should then proceed, through each successive edition that appeared during the author’s lifetime, to the first of the posthumous editions, if there are any such, keeping in mind the distinction between substantives and accidentals when introducing revisions. As a general rule, but one to be applied with judgement and discretion, they advise an editor, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to include changes in substantives, provided that such changes make good sense, and to exclude changes in accidentals, on the ground that these were probably due to the printer.
To this general rule there are naturally exceptions. One class of works that cannot easily be subjected to it are those for which an edition later than the first is known to have been extensively and carefully revised by the author. TMS falls into this class. To follow the usual rule for this book would in fact produce a curious patchwork.
There is no doubt that the printers of edition 1 of TMS followed their manuscript copy fairly closely. Edition 1 frequently, though not consistently, uses antique spellings such as ‘compleat’, ‘antient’, ‘chearful’, ‘cloaths’, ‘intire’, and the contractions ‘tho’’ and ‘thro’’, all of which we know were used by Adam Smith or his amanuenses. These older or abbreviated forms were gradually removed in later editions, especially in 4 and 6. We can also be fairly sure that many of the revisions in punctuation were made by the printers, though there is good evidence that some of them were made by the author. While it is a hazardous business to judge which revisions of accidentals are due to the author, and which to the printer, that is insufficient reason for refusing to make the attempt, and it can be done. But the new material added in edition 6 does not go back to the antique spellings; its usage on accidentals is, generally speaking, closely consistent with the usage that edition 6 follows in the older material. It would be quite unwarrantable for an editor to introduce the antique spellings into the new material of edition 6, especially since even edition 1 does not use them consistently, and since there is evidence from certain idiosyncrasies in the new passages that the printers of edition 6 kept reasonably close to their manuscript copy. In the added material, therefore, the accidentals of edition 6 must generally be accepted. But if, at the same time, the accidentals of edition 1 were retained for the older material, the result would be a patchwork text, which would indeed show up immediately some features of the history of the editions, but which would undoubtedly be contrary to the intentions of the author. Adam Smith took great care over the preparation of edition 6, and he would not thank us if we replaced its general appearance of neat consistency by a mixture of ancient and modern forms. In a sense, of course, every revised version of a book is a patchwork in its substantives; but when the author has tried to present it as a seamless fabric, an editor has no business to disclose the seams, in the text itself, by printing the differing accidentals of the original versions of old and new matter.
It follows that the copy–text for TMS must be edition 6 and not edition 1. There is no virtue in making a fetish of retaining the accidentals of the first edition. Mr. J. C. Maxwell has pointed out to us that the main purpose of Greg’s article was not to insist that editors should exclude changes of accidentals and include those of substantives, but to show the need to test the credentials of each change in a substantive before accepting it as due to the author. This of course implies that one should equally not assume without consideration that changes in accidentals are due to the printer or that the accidentals of the first edition are the nearest approach one can make to the work of the author. Sometimes one can be fairly certain that a revision of an accidental was made by the author; we have given examples in 4(a) above (pp. 38, 41). Sometimes one can be even more certain that an inconsistency in the accidentals of a first printed version is not a reflection of the manuscript but simply an indication that different parts of the book were set up by different compositors; in edition 1 of TMS, the first few chapters use the spelling ‘sympathize’, the next few, ‘sympathise’, and the next again go back to ‘sympathize’; similarly, in the new Part VI of edition 6, Chapter 1 of Section ii regularly uses the spelling ‘connection’, while Chapters 2–3 regularly use ‘connexion’. Furthermore, the actual writing of the author on accidentals does not always represent his intentions for the printed text. Edition 1 of TMS very often has the contracted forms ‘tho’’ and ‘thro’’. These are commonly used by Adam Smith in letters written in his own hand, but we cannot assume that he intended this labour–saving device to be reproduced in print. He often used the contracted from ‘&’, but nobody would suppose that he wanted that to be reproduced in the printed versions of his books. So when later editions of TMS replace ‘tho’’ by ‘though’, it is reasonable to think that Smith would have approved. Likewise, if the printer adds a comma where its absence impedes the reader from seeing at once the sense of a passage, one must again suppose that the author would have approved.
The view that all changes in accidentals should normally be rejected assumes that the author will not have had much opportunity or determination to attend to these details in proofs. This is in fact not true of Adam Smith. While he will not have been quite so meticulous as a modern scholar might be, he evidently took particular pains over the correction of proofs. This has already been illustrated in quotations from some of his letters to his publishers, especially Letter 50 addressed to William Strahan, dated 4 April 1760. There is further evidence to the same effect in three of his letters about WN. In Letter 227 addressed to William Strahan, dated 22 May 1783, he wrote: ‘I must correct the press myself and you must, therefor, frank me the sheets as they are printed. I would even rather than not correct it myself come up to London in the beginning of next winter and attend the Press myself.’ Letter 237 addressed to William Strahan, dated 10 June 1784, confirms the impression which can be formed independently, from internal evidence, that Smith gave his personal attention to punctuation: ‘I return you the Proof which, indeed, requires little correction, except in the pointing and not much in that.’ William Strahan died in 1785. The third letter (No. 256) is addressed to his son, Andrew Strahan, and is dated 13 February 1786: ‘I beg you will employ one of your best compositors in printing the new edition of my book. I must, likewise beg that a compleat copy be sent to me before it is published, that I may revise and correct it. You may depend upon my not detaining you above a week.’
We are not suggesting that Smith himself was responsible for most of the changes in accidentals. Plainly he was not. But since he went over his proofs so carefully and was ready to revise even punctuation, we must assume that he was prepared to approve such revisions as he left unaltered. This applies particularly to edition 6, on which he worked so long. If he had wanted to go back, for example, to the antique spellings of editions 1–3, he had the opportunity at this time to do so. Since edition 6 in fact repeats the modernized spellings of edition 4 both in the old and in the new material, and often introduces them in places where edition 4 had omitted to do so, we are bound to suppose that this procedure had Smith’s approval.
If we did revert to the forms of edition 1 on accidentals, it is by no means certain that we should be reproducing what Smith himself had written. Writing in his own hand was very irksome to him, and he was in the habit of employing amanuenses for any extensive piece of work. The manuscript of WN was almost certainly written by an amanuensis, and it will be seen from Appendix II that Smith evidently used an amanuensis for his lectures in Glasgow at quite an early stage of his Professorship. This would suggest that the manuscript of TMS was probably not in the hand of Smith himself. As it happens, edition 1 of WN contains far more antique spellings than does edition 1 of TMS, and would give a quite false impression if taken to illustrate Smith’s own practice. For example, edition 1 of WN usually adds ‘k’ to many words that we now commonly end with ‘c’, such as ‘public’, ‘republic’, ‘mechanic’, ‘Catholic’, ‘physic’, ‘academic’, ‘stoic’, ‘metallic’, ‘authentic’, ‘characteristic’, ‘domestic’, ‘rustic’, ‘politic’. Not many of these words are to be found in letters written in Smith’s own hand, but ‘public’ and ‘mechanic’ do occur and are spelt without a ‘k’. Quite a number of the words listed occur in TMS also, and in edition 1 of that work none of them, except ‘public’ occasionally and ‘republic’ once, is spelt with an added ‘k’. In so far as direct comparison can be made between edition 1 of TMS and Smith’s usage in letters written in his own hand, there is a fair degree of correspondence, and certainly nothing like the extent of discrepancy that exists between the letters and edition 1 of WN. Both the letters and edition 1 of TMS commonly use the forms ‘inconveniency’, ‘cloaths’, ‘antient’, ‘compleat’, ‘chearful’, and ‘chuse’. (The last, which is not universal in the earlier editions, is generally retained in the old material of edition 6 and is quite commonly used in the new material too.) The letters tend to use the contracted forms ‘tho’’ and ‘thro’’, which occur usually, but by no means universally, in edition 1 of the book. On the other side, the letters have ‘Nature’ with a capital initial and ‘public’ without a ‘k’, while edition 1 of TMS prints ‘nature’ almost always and ‘publick’ from time to time. Both the letters and the book are inconsistent in using the two forms ‘entire’ and ‘intire’, but ‘e’ is more common in the letters, while ‘i’ is far more common in edition 1 of the book. In his letters and in inscribing presentation copies of his books, Smith showed a marked preference for the spelling ‘author’, while the book always uses the form ‘author’. The correspondences between the letters and the book are not at all strong evidence that Smith himself wrote the manuscript for edition 1, since these correspondences are equally consistent with the hypothesis that the manuscript of TMS was written by an amanuensis, though not the one who wrote the manuscript of WN. On the other hand, the discrepancies in this instance do not add up to any strong evidence that Smith did not write the manuscript. It remains an open question. Comparison with the letters is inconclusive. The fact that Smith used an amanuensis for his lectures suggests that he is likely to have done so for the book. J. R. McCulloch is reported by Rae (Life, 260–1) to have said that Smith wrote TMS in his own hand, but it seems that McCulloch was going simply on his own impression that the style of the book was less diffuse than that of WN. (This point is further discussed in Appendix II.)
We have, then, taken edition 6 as our copy–text. We have departed from it in a small number of instances. First, we have corrected misprints. Second, we have incorporated those corrections of the Errata lists for editions 1 and 2 which were overlooked. Third, we have included those revisions in edition 5 which can reasonably be attributed to the author and which were forgotten in the preparation of edition 6. Fourth, there are some instances where the reading of an earlier edition is to be preferred on the ground that the later reading is an error that was overlooked. Fifth, there are a few places where we have ourselves introduced an emendation which we believe represents the author’s own intention. With one exception, these emendations are a necessary consequence of nearby revisions that the author himself has made. The exception concerns the words ‘convenience(s)’ and ‘inconvenience(s)’. In editions 1–5, the forms ‘conveniency’, etc., are always used, except for a lapse on a single occasion in edition 4. Edition 6 retains these forms in the old material, apart from one paragraph of Part VII. In its new material it uses the alternative forms ‘convenience’, etc., in Part VI (several instances), but ‘conveniency’, etc., in new passages of III.3 and of VII.ii.1. Now in the case of this particular set of words, we can say with confidence that Smith had an insistent preference for ‘conveniency’ and its cognates. Apart from the fact that he always uses these forms in letters written in his own hand, there is an interesting piece of evidence in the manuscript that W. R. Scott called ‘An early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations’. This manuscript was written by an amanuensis, but some of the revisions, written over original material, are in Adam Smith’s own hand. Scott (ASSP, 325) notes an instance of the word ‘conveniencies’ where the last three letters are in Smith’s hand, and Scott conjectures that the amanuensis may originally have written ‘conveniences’ There is another instance of the word ‘conveniencies’ (331) where the second ‘i’ is due to revision, probably for the same reason. Consequently we have judged that Adam Smith would have wanted the word (and its cognates) to be spelt in this way throughout his book, and that it was probably so spelt in the manuscript of the new material for edition 6. The instances of the alternative spelling in the text of edition 6 were probably due to a particular compositor.
One could argue that our editorial emendation of ‘convenience’ to ‘conveniency’ might have been extended to certain other forms of words for which Smith is known to have had a preference, such as ‘authour’, ‘compleat’, ‘cloaths’, and ‘chearful’. But these words do not stand on all fours with ‘conveniency’ and its cognates, which are the forms regularly used in editions 1–5 and carried over to edition 6 in all instances but one of the old material, as well as being used sometimes in the new material. By contrast, ‘authour’ is never used in any of the editions; ‘compleat’ is generally, though not consistently, used in editions 1–3, but is replaced by ‘complete’ for the major part of edition 4 and throughout edition 6; ‘cloaths’ and its cognates, and likewise ‘chearful’, are regularly used in editions 1–5 but not at all in edition 6.
At any rate we have decided to be fairly conservative in our departures from the text of edition 6. We have given the reader some indication of the changes in accidentals, as between the different editions, that are most important for this purpose, and the apparatus of variants will enable him to go farther if he wishes. The critical apparatus is divided into two sections, one appearing as footnotes to the text, the other forming Appendix I. The character of the two sections needs some explanation.
The variants in the textual footnotes are referred to by alphabetical indicators in the text itself. They consist of two quite distinct groups. (1) Since edition 6 is our copy–text, the reader ought to be told immediately whenever our text departs from that of edition 6. Every such departure is indicated in the text by being enclosed within superscribed letters of the alphabet; the reading of edition 6, and the variants, if any, in other editions, are given in the footnote, together with reasons for the emendation if these are not at once obvious. (2) We have also printed as footnotes, with alphabetical indicators in the text, all variants that disclose a change or addition of thought by the author, as contrasted with revisions of substantives that constitute merely an improvement in the expression of the same thought. (Occasionally there may be difference of opinion whether a revision of words does or does not have a slight effect on the sense conveyed, and in such instances we have thought it best to allow for a possible change of thought and to include the variant in the footnotes to the text pages.) This class of variants is the really important one for most readers. TMS is a book on a philosophical subject, and a proper understanding of it requires an awareness of the respects in which the author’s thought developed. We have therefore thought it right to bring these changes directly to the reader’s attention by the same method of immediate presentation as has been used for emendations.
Other variants that are at all worthy of record have been included in Appendix I. They include both substantives and accidentals. The variants in substantives that appear in Appendix I are those which the author has revised simply in order to improve the expression of his thought, without changing the thought itself. Appendix I also contains the vast majority of variants in accidentals, but not all, since a few changes of accidentals are involved in one or other of the two classes of variants that are printed on the text pages.
One small group of trivial variants has not been recorded, on the ground that they are practically of no significance, except to students of the history of printing, who would in any event want to make their own record of such matters. These are the introduction of a misprint, or the addition or omission of a mark of punctuation, in one intermediate edition only, when the next edition restores the original reading. We have, however, excluded edition 5 from our rule of ignoring such trivia. Because of the unusual relationship of edition 5 to its predecessor and successor, there is some interest in noting all the variants that it affords.
Editions 1–7 all conclude the headings and titles of Parts, Sections, and chapters with full points. There is no reason why a modern edition should reproduce this particular piece of early printing practice, and we have not done so either in the text or in the relevant variants.
In the textual apparatus, the numerals in italic type following an entry stand for the editions containing it, 1E and 2E being used for the Errata lists of editions 1 and 2. The numerals in roman type preceding an entry in Appendix I stand for the page and line in which the passage is located. A caret below the line (⁁) stands for the omission of a mark of punctuation. A wavy dash (∼) stands for a repetition of all the words up to a mark of punctuation or a caret.
The numerals printed in the margin at the beginning of each paragraph are not in the original editions. The practice of numbering the paragraphs within each chapter, or similar segment, will be followed also for WN and EPS in this edition of the Works of Adam Smith, in order that crossreferences may be made from one work to another by means of paragraphs instead of pages, and so without confining the reader to the present edition.
1Since the first publication of the theory of moral sentiments, which was so long ago as the beginning of the year 1759, several corrections, and a good many illustrations of the doctrines contained in it, have occurred to me. But the various occupations in which the different accidents of my life necessarily involved me, have till now prevented me from revising this work with the care and attention which I always intended. The reader will find the principal alterations which I have made in this New Edition, in the last Chapter of the third Section of Part First; and in the four first Chapters of Part Third. Part Sixth, as it stands in this New Edition, is altogether new. In Part Seventh, I have brought together the greater part of the different passages concerning the Stoical Philosophy, which, in the former Editions, had been scattered about in different parts of the work.1 I have likewise endeavoured to explain more fully, and examine more distinctly, some of the doctrines of that famous sect. In the fourth and last Section of the same Part, I have thrown together a few additional observations concerning the duty and principle of veracity. There are, besides, in other parts of the work, a few other alterations and corrections of no great moment.
2In the last paragraph of the first Edition of the present work, I said, that I should in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the different revolutions which they had undergone in the different ages and periods of society; not only in what concerns justice, but in what concerns police, revenue, and arms, and whatever else is the object of law. In the Enquiry concerning2the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, I have partly executed this promise; at least so far as concerns police, revenue, and arms. What remains, the theory of jurisprudence, which I have long projected, I have hitherto been hindered from executing, by the same occupations which had till now prevented me from revising the present work. Though my very advanced age leaves me, I acknowledge, very little expectation of ever being able to execute this great work to my own satisfaction; yet, as I have not altogether abandoned the design, and as I wish still to continue under the obligation of doing what I can, I have allowed the paragraph to remain as it was published more than thirty years ago, when I entertained no doubt of being able to execute every thing which it announced.
[a]The Advertisement was added in ed. 6.
 An exaggeration. See Introduction, pp. 5–6, 43–4.
 The title of WN as published is An Inquiry into. . .