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chap. iii: Of those Systems which make Sentiment the Principle of Approbation - 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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Of those Systems which make Sentiment the Principle of Approbation
1Those systems which make sentiment the principle of approbation may be divided into two different classes.
2I. According to some the principle of approbation is founded upon a sentiment of a peculiar nature, upon a particular power of perception exerted by the mind at the view of certain actions or affections; some of which affecting this faculty in an agreeable and others in a disagreeable manner, the former are stamped with the characters of right, laudable, and virtuous; the latter with those of wrong, blamable, and vicious. This sentiment being of a peculiar nature distinct from every other, and the effect of a particular power of perception, they give it a particular name, and call it a moral sense.
3II. According to others, in order to account for the principle of approbation, there is no occasion for supposing any new power of perception which had never been heard of before: Nature, they imagine, acts here, as in all other cases, with the strictest oeconomy, and produces a multitude of effects from one and the same cause; and sympathy, a power which has always been taken notice of, and with which the mind is manifestly endowed, is, they think, sufficient to account for all the effects ascribed to this peculiar faculty.
4I. Dr. Hutcheson* had been at great pains to prove that the principle of approbation was not founded on self–love. He had demonstrated too that it could not arise from any operation of reason. Nothing remained, he thought, but to suppose it a faculty of a peculiar kind, with which Nature had endowed the human mind, in order to produce this one particular and important effect. When self–love and reason were both excluded, it did not occur to him that there was any other known faculty of the mind which could in any respect answer this purpose.
5This new power of perception he called a moral sense, and supposed it to be somewhat analogous to the external senses. As the bodies around us, by affecting these in a certain manner, appear to possess the different qualities of sound, taste, odour, colour; so the various affections of the human mind, by touching this particular faculty in a certain manner, appear to possess the different qualities of amiable and odious, of virtuous and vicious, of right and wrong.
6The various senses or powers of perception* , from which the human mind derives all its simple ideas, were, according to this system, of two different kinds, of which the one were called the direct or antecedent, the other, the reflex or consequent senses. The direct senses were those faculties from which the mind derived the perception of such species of things as did not presuppose the antecedent perception of any other. Thus sounds and colours were objects of the direct senses. To hear a sound or to see a colour does not presuppose the antecedent perception of any other quality or object. The reflex or consequent senses, on the other hand, were those faculties from which the mind derived the perception of such species of things as presupposed the antecedent perception of some other. Thus harmony and beauty were objects of the reflex senses. In order to perceive the harmony of a sound, or the beauty of a colour, we must first perceive the sound or the colour. The moral sense was considered as a faculty of this kind.2 That faculty, which Mr. Locke calls reflection, and from which he derived the simple ideas of the different passions and emotions of the human mind, was, according to Dr. Hutcheson, a direct internal sense. That faculty again by which we perceived the beauty or deformity, the virtue or vice of those different passions and emotions, was a reflex, internal sense.
7Dr. Hutcheson endeavoured still further to support this doctrine, by shewing that it was agreeable to the analogy of nature, and that the mind was endowed with a variety of other reflex senses exactly similar to the moral sense; such as a sense of beauty and deformity in external objects; a public sense, by which we sympathize with the happiness or misery of our fellow–creatures; a sense of shame and honour, and a sense of ridicule.
8But notwithstanding all the pains which this ingenious philosopher has taken to prove that the principle of approbation is founded in a peculiar power of perception, somewhat analogous to the external senses, there are some consequences, which he acknowledges to follow from this doctrine, that will, perhaps, be regarded by many as a sufficient confutation of it. The qualities he allows* , which belong to the objects of any sense, cannot, without the greatest absurdity, be ascribed to the sense itself. Who ever thought of calling the sense of seeing black or white, the sense of hearing loud or low, or the sense of tasting sweet or bitter? And, according to him, it is equally absurd to call our moral faculties virtuous or vicious, morally good or evil. These qualities belong to the objects of those faculties, not to the faculties themselves. If any man, therefore, was so absurdly constituted as to approve of cruelty and injustice as the highest virtues, and to disapprove of equity and humanity as the most pitiful vices, such a constitution of mind might indeed be regarded as inconvenient both to the individual and to the society, and likewise as strange, surprising, and unnatural in itself; but it could not, without the greatest absurdity, be denominated vicious or morally evil.
9Yet surely if we saw any man shouting with admiration and applause at a barbarous and unmerited execution, which some insolent tyrant had ordered, we should not think we were guilty of any great absurdity in denominating this behaviour vicious and morally evil in the highest degree, though it expressed nothing but depraved moral faculties, or an absurd approbation of this horrid action, as of what was noble, magnanimous, and great. Our heart, I imagine, at the sight of such a spectator, would forget for a while its sympathy with the sufferer, and feel nothing but horror and detestation, at the thought of so execrable a wretch. We should abominate him even more than the tyrant who might be goaded on by the strong passions of jealousy, fear, and resentment, and upon that account be more excusable. But the sentiments of the spectator would appear altogether without cause or motive, and therefore most perfectly and completely detestable. There is no perversion of sentiment or affection which our heart would be more averse to enter into, or which it would reject with greater hatred and indignation than one of this kind; and so far from regarding such a constitution of mind as being merely something strange or inconvenient, and not in any respect vicious or morally evil, we should rather consider it as the very last and most dreadful stage of moral depravity.
10Correct moral sentiments, on the contrary, naturally appear in some degree laudable and morally good. The man, whose censure and applause are upon all occasions suited with the greatest accuracy to the value or unworthiness of the object, seems to deserve a degree even of moral approbation. We admire the delicate precision of his moral sentiments: they lead our own judgments, and, upon account of their uncommon and surprising justness, they even excite our wonder and applause. We cannot indeed be always sure that the conduct of such a person would be in any respect correspondent to the precision and accuracy of his judgments concerning the conduct of others. Virtue requires habit and resolution of mind, as well as delicacy of sentiment; and unfortunately the former qualities are sometimes wanting, where the latter is in the greatest perfection. This disposition of mind, however, though it may sometimes be attended with imperfections, is incompatible with any thing that is grossly criminal, and is the happiest foundation upon which the superstructure of perfect virtue can be built. There are many men who mean very well, and seriously purpose to do what they think their duty, who notwithstanding are disagreeable on account of the coarseness of their moral sentiments.
11It may be said, perhaps, that though the principle of approbation is not founded upon any power of perception that is in any respect analogous to the external senses, it may still be founded upon a peculiar sentiment which answers this one particular purpose and no other. Approbation and disapprobation, it may be pretended, are certain feelings or emotions which arise in the mind upon the view of different characters and actions; and as resentment might be called a sense of injuries, or gratitude a sense of benefits, so these may very properly receive the name of a sense of right and wrong, or of a moral sense.
12But this account of things, though it may not be liable to the same objections with the foregoing, is exposed to others which are equally unanswerable.
13First of all, whatever variations any particular emotion may undergo, it still preserves the general features which distinguish it to be an emotion of such a kind, and these general features are always more striking and remarkable than any variation which it may undergo in particular cases. Thus anger is an emotion of a particular kind: and accordingly its general features are always more distinguishable than all the variations it undergoes in particular cases. Anger against a man is, no doubt, somewhat different from anger against a woman, and that again from anger against a child. In each of those three cases, the general passion of anger receives a different modification from the particular character of its object, as may easily be observed by the attentive. But still the general features of the passion predominate in all these cases. To distinguish these, requires no nice observation: a very delicate attention, on the contrary, is necessary to discover their variations: every body takes notice of the former; scarce any body observes the latter. If approbation and disapprobation, therefore, were, like gratitude and resentment, emotions of a particular kind, distinct from every other, we should expect that in all the variations which either of them might undergo, it would still retain the general features which mark it to be an emotion of such a particular kind, clear, plain, and easily distinguishable. But in fact it happens quite otherwise. If we attend to what we really feel when upon different occasions we either approve or disapprove, we shall find that our emotion in one case is often totally different from that in another, and that no common features can possibly be discovered between them. Thus the approbation with which we view a tender, delicate, and humane sentiment, is quite different from that with which we are struck by one that appears great, daring, and magnanimous. Our approbation of both may, upon different occasions, be perfect and entire; but we are softened by the one, and we are elevated by the other, and there is no sort of resemblance between the emotions which they excite in us. But according to that system which I have been endeavouring to establish, this must necessarily be the case. As the emotions of the person whom we approve of, are, in those two cases, quite opposite to one another, and as our approbation arises from sympathy with those opposite emotions, what we feel upon the one occasion, can have no sort of resemblance to what we feel upon the other. But this could not happen if approbation consisted in a peculiar emotion which had nothing in common with the sentiments we approved of, but which arose at the view of those sentiments, like any other passion at the view of its proper object. The same thing holds true with regard to disapprobation. Our horror for cruelty has no sort of resemblance to our contempt for mean–spiritedness. It is quite a different species of discord which we feel at the view of those two different vices, between our own minds and those of the person whose sentiments and behaviour we consider.
14Secondly, I have already observed,3 that not only the different passions or affections of the human mind which are approved or disapproved of, appear morally good or evil, but that proper and improper approbation appear, to our natural sentiments, to be stamped with the same characters. I would ask, therefore, how it is, that, according to this system, we approve or disapprove of proper or improper approbation? To this question there is, I imagine, but one reasonable answer, which can possibly be given. It must be said, that when the approbation with which our neighbour regards the conduct of a third person coincides with our own, we approve of his approbation, and consider it as, in some measure, morally good; and that, on the contrary, when it does not coincide with our own sentiments, we disapprove of it, and consider it as, in some measure, morally evil. It must be allowed, therefore, that, at least in this one case, the coincidence or opposition of sentiments, between the observer and the person observed, constitutes moral approbation or disapprobation. And if it does so in this one case, I would ask, why not in every other? aOr toa what purpose imagine a new power of perception in order to account for those sentiments?
15Against every account of the principle of approbation, which makes it depend upon a peculiar sentiment, distinct from every other, I would object; that it is strange that this sentiment, which Providence undoubtedly intended to be the governing principle of human nature, should hitherto have been so little taken notice of, as not to have got a name in any language. The word moral sense is of very late formation, and cannot yet be considered as making part of the English tongue. The word approbation has but within these few years been appropriated to denote peculiarly any thing of this kind. In propriety of language we approve of whatever is entirely to our satisfaction, of the form of a building, of the contrivance of a machine, of the flavour of a dish of meat. The word conscience does not immediately denote any moral faculty by which we approve or disapprove. Conscience supposes, indeed, the existence of some such faculty, and properly signifies our consciousness of having acted agreeably or contrary to its directions. When love, hatred, joy, sorrow, gratitude, resentment, with so many other passions which are all supposed to be the subjects of this principle, have made themselves considerable enough to get titles to know them by, is it not surprising that the sovereign of them all should hitherto have been so little heeded, that, a few philosophers excepted, nobody has yet thought it worth while to bestow a name upon bit?b
16When we approve of any character or action, the sentiments which we feel, are, according to the foregoing system, derived from four sources, which are in some respects different from one another. First, we sympathize with the motives of the agent; secondly, we enter into the gratitude of those who receive the benefit of his actions; thirdly, we observe that his conduct has been agreeable to the general rules by which those two sympathies generally act; and, last of all, when we consider such actions as making a part of a system of behaviour which tends to promote the happiness either of the individual or of the society, they appear to derive a beauty from this utility, not unlike that which we ascribe to any well–contrived machine. After deducting, in any one particular case, all that must be acknowledged to proceed from some one or other of these four principles, I should be glad to know what remains, and I shall freely allow this overplus to be ascribed to a moral sense, or to any other peculiar faculty, provided any body will ascertain precisely what this overplus is. It might be expected, perhaps, that if there was any such peculiar principle, such as this moral sense is supposed to be, we should feel it, in some particular cases, separated and detached from every other, as we often feel joy, sorrow, hope, and fear, pure and unmixed with any other emotion. This however, I imagine, cannot even be pretended. I have never heard any instance alleged in which this principle could be said to exert itself alone and unmixed with sympathy or antipathy, with gratitude or resentment, with the perception of the agreement or disagreement of any action to an established rule, or last of all with that general taste for beauty and order which is excited by inanimated as well as by animated objects.
17II. There is another system which attempts to account for the origin of our moral sentiments from sympathy, distinct from that which I have been endeavouring to establish. It is that which places virtue in utility, and accounts for the pleasure with which the spectator surveys the utility of any quality from sympathy with the happiness of those who are affected by it. This sympathy is different both from that by which we enter into the motives of the agent, and from that by which we go along with the gratitude of the persons who are benefited by his actions. It is the same principle with that by which we approve of a well–contrived machine. But no machine can be the object of either of those two last mentioned sympathies. I have already, in the fourth part of this discourse,4 given some account of this system.
Of the Manner in which different Authors have treated of the practical Rules of Morality
1It was observed in the third part of this discourse,1 that the rules of justice are the only rules of morality which are precise and accurate; that those of all the other virtues are loose, vague, and indeterminate; that the first may be compared to the rules of grammar; the others to those which critics lay down for the attainment of what is sublime and elegant in composition, and which present us rather with a general idea of the perfection we ought to aim at, than afford us any certain and infallible directions for acquiring it.
2As the different rules of morality admit such different degrees of accuracy, those authors who have endeavoured to collect and digest them into systems have done it in two different manners; and one set has followed through the whole that loose method to which they were naturally directed by the consideration of one species of virtues; while another has as universally endeavoured to introduce into their precepts that sort of accuracy of which only some of them are susceptible. The first have wrote like critics, the second like grammarians.
3I. The first, among whom we may count all the ancient moralists, have contented themselves with describing in a general manner the different vices and virtues, and with pointing out the deformity and misery of the one disposition as well as the propriety and happiness of the other, but have not affected to lay down many precise rules that are to hold good unexceptionably in all particular cases. They have only endeavoured to ascertain, as far as language is capable of ascertaining, first, wherein consists the sentiment of the heart, upon which each particular virtue is founded, what sort of internal feeling or emotion it is which constitutes the essence of friendship, of humanity, of generosity, of justice, of magnanimity, and of all the other virtues, as well as of the vices which are opposed to them: and, secondly, what is the general way of acting, the ordinary tone and tenor of conduct to which each of those sentiments would direct us, or how it is that a friendly, a generous, a brave, a just, and a humane man, would, upon ordinary occasions, chuse to act.
4To characterize the sentiment of the heart, upon which each particular virtue is founded, though it requires both a delicate and an accurate pencil, is a task, however, which may be executed with some degree of exactness. It is impossible, indeed, to express all the variations which each sentiment either does or ought to undergo, according to every possible variation of circumstances. They are endless, and language wants names to mark them by. The sentiment of friendship, for example, which we feel for an old man is different from that which we feel for a young: that which we entertain for an austere man different from that which we feel for one of softer and gentler manners: and that again from what we feel for one of gay vivacity and spirit. The friendship which we conceive for a man is different from that with which a woman affects us, even where there is no mixture of any grosser passion. What author could enumerate and ascertain these and all the other infinite varieties which this sentiment is capable of undergoing? But still the general sentiment of friendship and familiar attachment which is common to them all, may be ascertained with a sufficient degree of accuracy. The picture which is drawn of it, though it will always be in many respects incomplete, may, however, have such a resemblance as to make us know the original when we meet with it, and even distinguish it from other sentiments to which it has a considerable resemblance, such as good–will, respect, esteem, admiration.
5To describe, in a general manner, what is the ordinary way of acting to which each virtue would prompt us, is still more easy. It is, indeed, scarce possible to describe the internal sentiment or emotion upon which it is founded, without doing something of this kind. It is impossible by language to express, if I may say so, the invisible features of all the different modifications of passion as they show themselves within. There is no other way of marking and distinguishing them from one another, but by describing the effects which they produce without, the alterations which they occasion in the countenance, in the air and external behaviour, the resolutions they suggest, the actions they prompt to. It is thus that Cicero, in the first book of his Offices, endeavours to direct us to the practice of the four cardinal virtues, and that Aristotle in the practical parts of his Ethics, points out to us the different habits by which he would have us regulate our behaviour, such as liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, and even jocularity and good–humour, qualities which that indulgent philosopher has thought worthy of a place in the catalogue of the virtues,2 though the lightness of that approbation which we naturally bestow upon them, should not seem to entitle them to so venerable a name.
6Such works present us with agreeable and lively pictures of manners. By the vivacity of their descriptions they inflame our natural love of virtue, and increase our abhorrence of vice: by the justness as well as delicacy of their observations they may often help both to correct and to ascertain our natural sentiments with regard to the propriety of conduct, and suggesting many nice and delicate attentions, form us to a more exact justness of behaviour, than what, without such instruction, we should have been apt to think of. In treating of the rules of morality, in this manner, consists the science which is properly called Ethics, a science which, though like criticism it does not admit of the most accurate precision, is, however, both highly useful and agreeable. It is of all others the most susceptible of the embellishments of eloquence, and by means of them of bestowing, if that be possible, a new importance upon the smallest rules of duty. Its precepts, when thus dressed and adorned, are capable of producing upon the flexibility of youth, the noblest and most lasting impressions, and as they fall in with the natural magnanimity of that generous age, they are able to inspire, for a time at least, the most heroic resolutions, and thus tend both to establish and confirm the best and most useful habits of which the mind of man is susceptible. Whatever precept and exhortation can do to animate us to the practice of virtue, is done by this science delivered in this manner.
7II. The second set of moralists, among whom we may count all the casuists of the middle and latter ages of the christian church, as well as all those who in this and in the preceding century have treated of what is called natural jurisprudence, do not content themselves with characterizing in this general manner that tenor of conduct which they would recommend to us, but endeavour to lay down exact and precise rules for the direction of every circumstance of our behaviour. As justice is the only virtue with regard to which such exact rules can properly be given; it is this virtue, that has chiefly fallen under the consideration of those two different sets of writers. They treat of it, however, in a very different manner.
8Those who write upon the principles of jurisprudence, consider only what the person to whom the obligation is due, ought to think himself entitled to exact by force; what every impartial spectator would approve of him for exacting, or what a judge or arbiter, to whom he had submitted his case, and who had undertaken to do him justice, ought to oblige the other person to suffer or to perform. The casuists, on the other hand, do not so much examine what it is, that might properly be exacted by force, as what it is, that the person who owes the obligation ought to think himself bound to perform from the most sacred and scrupulous regard to the general rules of justice, and from the most conscientious dread, either of wronging his neighbour, or of violating the integrity of his own character. It is the end of jurisprudence to prescribe rules for the decisions of judges and arbiters. It is the end of casuistry to prescribe rules for the conduct of a good man. By observing all the rules of jurisprudence, supposing them ever so perfect, we should deserve nothing but to be free from external punishment. By observing those of casuistry, supposing them such as they ought to be, we should be entitled to considerable praise by the exact and scrupulous delicacy of our behaviour.
9It may frequently happen that a good man ought to think himself bound, from a sacred and conscientious regard to the general rules of justice, to perform many things which it would be the highest injustice to extort from him, or for any judge or arbiter to impose upon him by force. To give a trite example; a highwayman, by the fear of death, obliges a traveller to promise him a certain sum of money. Whether such a promise, extorted in this manner by unjust force, ought to be regarded as obligatory, is a question that has been very much debated.
10If we consider it merely as a question of jurisprudence, the decision can admit of no doubt. It would be absurd to suppose that the highwayman can be entitled to use force to constrain the other to perform. To extort the promise was a crime which deserved the highest punishment, and to extort the performance would only be adding a new crime to the former. He can complain of no injury who has been only deceived by the person by whom he might justly have been killed. To suppose that a judge ought to enforce the obligation of such promises, or that the magistrate ought to allow them to sustain action at law, would be the most ridiculous of all absurdities. If we consider this question, therefore, as a question of jurisprudence, we can be at no loss about the decision.
11But if we consider it as a question of casuistry, it will not be so easily determined. Whether a good man, from a conscientious regard to that most sacred rule of justice, which commands the observance of all serious promises, would not think himself bound to perform, is at least much more doubtful. That no regard is due to the disappointment of the wretch who brings him into this situation, that no injury is done to the robber, and consequently that nothing can be extorted by force, will admit of no sort of dispute. But whether some regard is not, in this case, due to his own dignity and honour, to the inviolable sacredness of that part of his character which makes him reverence the law of truth and abhor every thing that approaches to treachery and falsehood, may, perhaps, more reasonably be made a question. The casuists accordingly are greatly divided about it. One party, with whom we may count Cicero among the ancients, among the moderns, Puffendorf, Barbeyrac his commentator, and above all the late Dr. Hutcheson, one who in most cases was by no means a loose casuist, determine, without any hesitation, that no sort of regard is due to any such promise, and that to think otherwise is mere weakness and superstition.3 Another party, among whom we may reckon * some of the ancient fathers of the church, as well as some very eminent modern casuists, have been of another opinion, and have judged all such promises obligatory.
12If we consider the matter according to the common sentiments of mankind, we shall find that some regard would be thought due even to a promise of this kind; but that it is impossible to determine how much, by any general rule that will apply to all cases without exception. The man who was quite frank and easy in making promises of this kind, and who violated them with as little ceremony, we should not chuse for our friend and companion. A gentleman who should promise a highwayman five pounds and not perform, would incur some blame. If the sum promised, however, was very great, it might be more doubtful, what was proper to be done. If it was such, for example, that the payment of it would entirely ruin the family of the promiser, if it was so great as to be sufficient for promoting the most useful purposes, it would appear in some measure criminal, at least extremely improper, to throw it, for the sake of a punctilio, into such worthless hands. The man who should beggar himself, or who should throw away an hundred thousand pounds, though he could afford that vast sum, for the sake of observing such a parole with a thief, would appear to the common sense of mankind, absurd and extravagant in the highest degree. Such profusion would seem inconsistent with his duty, with what he owed both to himself and others, and what, therefore, regard to a promise extorted in this manner, could by no means authorise. To fix, however, by any precise rule, what degree of regard ought to be paid to it, or what might be the greatest sum which could be due from it, is evidently impossible. This would vary according to the characters of the persons, according to their circumstances, according to the solemnity of the promise, and even according to the incidents of the rencounter: and if the promiser had been treated with a great deal of that sort of gallantry, which is sometimes to be met with in persons of the most abandoned characters, more would seem due than upon other occasions. It may be said in general, that exact propriety requires the observance of all such promises, wherever it is not inconsistent with some other duties that are more sacred; such as regard to the public interest, to those whom gratitude, whom natural affection, or whom the laws of proper beneficence should prompt us to provide for. But, as was formerly taken notice of, we have no precise rules to determine what external actions are due from a regard to such motives, nor, consequently, when it is that those virtues are inconsistent with the observance of such promises.
13It is to be observed, however, that whenever such promises are violated, though for the most necessary reasons, it is always with some degree of dishonour to the person who made them. After they are made, we may be convinced of the impropriety of observing them. But still there is some fault in having made them. It is at least a departure from the highest and noblest maxims of magnanimity and honour. A brave man ought to die, rather than make a promise which he can neither keep without folly, nor violate without ignominy. For some degree of ignominy always attends a situation of this kind. Treachery and falsehood are vices so dangerous, so dreadful, and, at the same time, such as may so easily, and, upon many occasions, so safely be indulged, that we are more jealous of them than of almost any other. Our imagination therefore attaches the idea of shame to all violations of faith, in every circumstance and in every situation. They resemble, in this respect, the violations of chastity in the fair sex, a virtue of which, for the like reasons, we are excessively jealous; and our sentiments are not more delicate with regard to the one, than with regard to the other. Breach of chastity dishonours irretrievably. No circumstances, no solicitation can excuse it; no sorrow, no repentance atone for it. We are so nice in this respect that even a rape dishonours, and the innocence of the mind cannot, in our imagination, wash out the pollution of the body. It is the same case with the violation of faith, when it has been solemnly pledged, even to the most worthless of mankind. Fidelity is so necessary a virtue, that we apprehend it in general to be due even to those to whom nothing else is due, and whom we think it lawful to kill and destroy. It is to no purpose that the person who has been guilty of the breach of it, urges that he promised in order to save his life, and that he broke his promise because it was inconsistent with some other respectable duty to keep it. These circumstances may alleviate, but cannot entirely wipe out his dishonour. He appears to have been guilty of an action with which, in the imaginations of men, some degree of shame is inseparably connected. He has broke a promise which he had solemnly averred he would maintain; and his character, if not irretrievably stained and polluted, has at least a ridicule affixed to it, which it will be very difficult entirely to efface; and no man, I imagine, who had gone through an adventure of this kind would be fond of telling the story.
14This instance may serve to show wherein consists the difference between casuistry and jurisprudence, even when both of them consider the obligations of the general rules of justice.
15But though this difference be real and essential, though those two sciences propose quite different ends, the sameness of the subject has made such a similarity between them, that the greater part of authors whose professed design was to treat of jurisprudence, have determined the different questions they examine, sometimes according to the principles of that science, and sometimes according to those of casuistry, without distinguishing, and, perhaps, without being themselves aware when they did the one, and when the other.
16The doctrine of the casuists, however, is by no means confined to the consideration of what a conscientious regard to the general rules of justice would demand of us. It embraces many other parts of Christian and moral duty. What seems principally to have given occasion to the cultivation of this species of science was the custom of auricular confession, introduced by the Roman Catholic superstition, in times of barbarism and ignorance. By that institution, the most secret actions, and even the thoughts of every person, which could be suspected of receding in the smallest degree from the rules of Christian purity, were to be revealed to the confessor. The confessor informed his penitents whether, and in what respect they had violated their duty, and what penance it behoved them to undergo, before he could absolve them in the name of the offended Deity.
17The consciousness, or even the suspicion of having done wrong, is a load upon every mind, and is accompanied with anxiety and terror in all those who are not hardened by long habits of iniquity. Men, in this, as in all other distresses, are naturally eager to disburthen themselves of the oppression which they feel upon their thoughts, by unbosoming the agony of their mind to some person whose secrecy and discretion they can confide in. The shame, which they suffer from this acknowledgment, is fully compensated by that alleviation of their uneasiness which the sympathy of their confident seldom fails to occasion. It relieves them to find that they are not altogether unworthy of regard, and that however their past conduct may be censured, their present disposition is at least approved of, and is perhaps sufficient to compensate the other, at least to maintain them in some degree of esteem with their friend. A numerous and artful clergy had, in those times of superstition, insinuated themselves into the confidence of almost every private family. They possessed all the little learning which the times could afford, and their manners, though in many respects rude and disorderly, were polished and regular compared with those of the age they lived in. They were regarded, therefore, not only as the great directors of all religious, but of all moral duties. Their familiarity gave reputation to whoever was so happy as to possess it, and every mark of their disapprobation stamped the deepest ignominy upon all who had the misfortune to fall under it. Being considered as the great judges of right and wrong, they were naturally consulted about all scruples that occurred, and it was reputable for any person to have it known that he made those holy men the confidents of all such secrets, and took no important or delicate step in his conduct without their advice and approbation. It was not difficult for the clergy, therefore, to get it established as a general rule, that they should be entrusted with what it had already become fashionable to entrust them, and with what they generally would have been entrusted, though no such rule had been established. To qualify themselves for confessors became thus a necessary part of the study of churchmen and divines, and they were thence led to collect what are called cases of conscience, nice and delicate situations in which it is hard to determine whereabouts the propriety of conduct may lie. Such works, they imagined, might be of use both to the directors of consciences and to those who were to be directed; and hence the origin of books of casuistry.
18The moral duties which fell under the consideration of the casuists were chiefly those which can, in some measure at least, be circumscribed within general rules, and of which the violation is naturally attended with some degree of remorse and some dread of suffering punishment. The design of that institution which gave occasion to their works, was to appease those terrors of conscience which attend upon the infringement of such duties. But it is not every virtue of which the defect is accompanied with any very severe compunctions of this kind, and no man applies to his confessor for absolution, because he did not perform the most generous, the most friendly, or the most magnanimous action which, in his circumstances, it was possible to perform. In failures of this kind, the rule that is violated is commonly not very determinate, and is generally of such a nature too, that though the observance of it might entitle to honour and reward, the violation seems to expose to no positive blame, censure, or punishment. The exercise of such virtues the casuists seem to have regarded as a sort of works of supererogation, which could not be very strictly exacted, and which it was therefore unnecessary for them to treat of.
19The breaches of moral duty, therefore, which came before the tribunal of the confessor, and upon that account fell under the cognizance of the casuists, were chiefly of three different kinds.
20First and principally, breaches of the rules of justice. The rules here are all express and positive, and the violation of them is naturally attended with the consciousness of deserving, and the dread of suffering punishment both from God and man.
21Secondly, breaches of the rules of chastity. These in all grosser instances are real breaches of the rules of justice, and no person can be guilty of them without doing the most unpardonable injury to some other. In smaller instances, when they amount only to a violation of those exact decorums which ought to be observed in the conversation of the two sexes, they cannot indeed justly be considered as violations of the rules of justice. They are agenerally,a however, violations of a pretty plain rule, and, at least in one of the sexes, tend to bring ignominy upon the person who has been guilty of them, and consequently to be attended in the scrupulous with some degree of shame and contrition of mind.
22Thirdly, breaches of the rules of veracity. The violation of truth, it is to be observed, is not always a breach of justice, though it is so upon many occasions, and consequently cannot always expose to any external punishment. The vice of common lying, though a most miserable meanness, may frequently do hurt to nobody, and in this case no claim of vengeance or satisfaction can be due either to the persons imposed upon, or to others. But though the violation of truth is not always a breach of justice, it is always a breach of a very plain rule, and what naturally tends to cover with shame the person who has been guilty of it.b
23There seems to be in young children an instinctive disposition to believe whatever they are told. Nature seems to have judged it necessary for their preservation that they should, for some time at least, put implicit confidence in those to whom the care of their childhood, and of the earliest and most necessary parts of their education, is intrusted. Their credulity, accordingly, is excessive, and it requires long and much experience of the falsehood of mankind to reduce them to a reasonable degree of diffidence and distrust. In grown–up people the degrees of credulity are, no doubt, very different. The wisest and most experienced are generally the least credulous. But the man scarce lives who is not more credulous than he ought to be, and who does not, upon many occasions, give credit to tales, which not only turn out to be perfectly false, but which a very moderate degree of reflection and attention might have taught him could not well be true. The natural disposition is always to believe. It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity, and they very seldom teach it enough. The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing.
24The man whom we believe is necessarily, in the things concerning which we believe him, our leader and director, and we look up to him with a certain degree of esteem and respect. But as from admiring other people we come to wish to be admired ourselves; so from being led and directed by other people we learn to wish to become ourselves leaders and directors. And as we cannot always be satisfied merely with being admired, unless we can at the same time persuade ourselves that we are in some degree really worthy of admiration; so we cannot always be satisfied merely with being believed, unless we are at the same time conscious that we are really worthy of belief. As the desire of praise and that of praise–worthiness, though very much a–kin, are yet distinct and separate desires; so the desire of being believed and that of being worthy of belief, though very much a–kin too, are equally distinct and separate desires.
25The desire of being believed, the desire of persuading, of leading and directing other people, seems to be one of the strongest of all our natural desires. It is, perhaps, the instinct upon which is founded the faculty of speech, the characteristical faculty of human nature. No other animal possesses this faculty, and we cannot discover in any other animal any desire to lead and direct the judgment and conduct of its fellows. Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition, of real superiority, of leading and directing the judgments and conduct of other people.
26It is always mortifying not to be believed, and it is doubly so when we suspect that it is because we are supposed to be unworthy of belief and capable of seriously and wilfully deceiving. To tell a man that he lies, is of all affronts the most mortal. But whoever seriously and wilfully deceives is necessarily conscious to himself that he merits this affront, that he does not deserve to be believed, and that he forfeits all title to that sort of credit from which alone he can derive any sort of ease, comfort, or satisfaction in the society of his equals. The man who had the misfortune to imagine that nobody believed a single word he said, would feel himself the outcast of human society, would dread the very thought of going into it, or of presenting himself before it, and could scarce fail, I think, to die of despair. It is probable, however, that no man ever had just reason to entertain this humiliating opinion of himself. The most notorious liar, I am disposed to believe, tells the fair truth at least twenty times for once that he seriously and deliberately lies; and, as in the most cautious the disposition to believe is apt to prevail over that to doubt and distrust; so in those who are the most regardless of truth, the natural disposition to tell it prevails upon most occasions over that to deceive, or in any respect to alter or disguise it.
27We are mortified when we happen to deceive other people, though unintentionally, and from having been ourselves deceived. Though this involuntary falsehood may frequently be no mark of any want of veracity, of any want of the most perfect love of truth, it is always in some degree a mark of want of judgment, of want of memory, of improper credulity, of some degree of precipitancy and rashness. It always diminishes our authority to persuade, and always brings some degree of suspicion upon our fitness to lead and direct. The man who sometimes misleads from mistake, however, is widely different from him who is capable of wilfully deceiving. The former may safely be trusted upon many occasions; the latter very seldom upon any.
28Frankness and openness conciliate confidence. We trust the man who seems willing to trust us. We see clearly, we think, the road by which he means to conduct us, and we abandon ourselves with pleasure to his guidance and direction. Reserve and concealment, on the contrary, call forth diffidence. We are afraid to follow the man who is going we do not know where. cThe great pleasure of conversation and society, besides, arisesc from a certain correspondence of sentiments and opinions, from a certain harmony of minds, which like so many musical instruments coincide and keep time with one another. But this most delightful harmony cannot be obtained unless there is a free communication of sentiments and opinions. We all desire, upon this account, to feel how each other is affected, to penetrate into each other’s bosoms, and to observe the sentiments and affections which really subsist there. The man who indulges us in this natural passion, who invites us into his heart, who, as it were, sets open the gates of his breast to us, seems to exercise a species of hospitality more delightful than any other. No man, who is in ordinary good temper, can fail of pleasing, if he has the courage to utter his real sentiments as he feels them, and because he feels them. It is this unreserved sincerity which renders even the prattle of a child agreeable. How weak and imperfect soever the views of the open–hearted, we take pleasure to enter into them, and endeavour, as much as we can, to bring down our own understanding to the level of their capacities, and to regard every subject in the particular light in which they appear to have considered it. This passion to discover the real sentiments of others is naturally so strong, that it often degenerates into a troublesome and impertinent curiosity to pry into those secrets of our neighbours which they have very justifiable reasons for concealing; and, upon many occasions, it requires prudence and a strong sense of propriety to govern this, as well as all the other passions of human nature, and to reduce it to that pitch which any impartial spectator can approve of. To disappoint this curiosity, however, when it is kept within proper bounds, and aims at nothing which there can be any just reason for concealing, is equally disagreeable in its turn. The man who eludes our most innocent questions, who gives no satisfaction to our most inoffensive inquiries, who plainly wraps himself up in impenetrable obscurity, seems, as it were, to build a wall about his breast. We run forward to get within it, with all the eagerness of harmless curiosity; and feel ourselves all at once pushed back with the rudest and most offensive violence.d
29e The man of reserve and concealment, though seldom a very amiable character, is not disrespected or despised. He seems to feel coldly towards us, and we feel as coldly towards him. He is not much praised or beloved, but he is as little hated or blamed. He very seldom, however, has occasion to repent of his caution, and is generally disposed rather to value himself upon the prudence of his reserve. Though his conduct, therefore, may have been very faulty, and sometimes even hurtful, he can very seldom be disposed to lay his case before the casuists, or to fancy that he has any occasion for their acquittal or approbation.
30It is not always so with the man, who, from false information, from inadvertency, from precipitancy and rashness, has involuntarily deceived. Though it should be in a matter of little consequence, in telling a piece of common news, for example, if he is a real lover of truth, he is ashamed of his own carelessness, and never fails to embrace the first opportunity of making the fullest acknowledgments. If it is in a matter of some consequence, his contribution is still greater; and if any unlucky or fatal consequence has followed from his misinformation, he can scarce ever forgive himself. Though not guilty, he feels himself to be in the highest degree, what the ancients called, piacular,5 and is anxious and eager to make every sort of atonement in his power. Such a person might frequently be disposed to lay his case before the casuists, who have in general been very favourable to him, and though they have sometimes justly condemned him for rashness, they have universally acquitted him of the ignominy of falsehood.
31But the man who had the most frequent occasion to consult them, was the man of equivocation and mental reservation, the man who seriously and deliberately meant to deceive, but who, at the same time, wished to flatter himself that he had really told the truth. With him they have dealt variously. When they approved very much of the motives of his deceit, they have sometimes acquitted him, though, to do them justice, they have in general and much more frequently condemned him.
32The chief subjects of the works of the casuists, therefore, were the conscientious regard that is due to the rules of justice; how far we ought to respect the life and property of our neighbour; the duty of restitution; the laws of chastity and modesty, and wherein consisted what, in their language, are called the sins of concupiscence; the rules of veracity, and the obligation of oaths, promises, and contracts of all kinds.
33It may be said in general of the works of the casuists that they attempted, to no purpose, to direct by precise rules what it belongs to feeling and sentiment only to judge of. How is it possible to ascertain by rules the exact point at which, in every case, a delicate sense of justice begins to run into a frivolous and weak scrupulosity of conscience? When it is that secrecy and reserve begin to grow into dissimulation? How far an agreeable irony may be carried, and at what precise point it begins to degenerate into a detestable lie? What is the highest pitch of freedom and ease of behaviour which can be regarded as graceful and becoming, and when it is that it first begins to run into a negligent and thoughtless licentiousness? With regard to all such matters, what would hold good in any one case would scarce do so exactly in any other, and what constitutes the propriety and happiness of behaviour varies in every case with the smallest variety of situation. Books of casuistry, therefore, are generally as useless as they are commonly tiresome. They could be of little use to one who should consult them upon occasion, even supposing their decisions to be just; because, notwithstanding the multitude of cases collected in them, yet upon account of the still greater variety of possible circumstances, it is a chance, if among all those cases there be found one exactly parallel to that under consideration. One, who is really anxious to do his duty, must be very weak, if he can imagine that he has much occasion for them; and with regard to one who is negligent of it, the style of those writings is not such as is likely to awaken him to more attention. None of them tend to animate us to what is generous and noble. None of them tend to soften us to what is gentle and humane. Many of them, on the contrary, tend rather to teach us to chicane with our own consciences, and by their vain subtilties serve to authorise innumerable evasive refinements with regard to the most essential articles of our duty. That frivolous accuracy which they attempted to introduce into subjects which do not admit of it, almost necessarily betrayed them into those dangerous errors, and at the same time rendered their works dry and disagreeable, abounding in abtruse and metaphysical distinctions, but incapable of exciting in the heart any of those emotions which it is the principal use of books of morality to excite.
34The two useful parts of moral philosophy, therefore, are Ethics and Jurisprudence: casuistry ought to be rejected altogether; and the ancient moralists appear to have judged much better, who, in treating of the same subjects, did not affect any such nice exactness, but contented themselves with describing, in a general manner, what is the sentiment upon which justice, modesty, and veracity are founded, and what is the ordinary way of acting to which those virtues would commonly prompt us.
35Something, indeed, not unlike the doctrine of the casuists, seems to have been attempted by several philosophers. There is something of this kind in the third book of Cicero’s Offices, where he endeavours like a casuist to give rules for our conduct in many nice cases, in which it is difficult to determine whereabouts the point of propriety may lie. It appears too, from many passages in the same book, that several other philosophers had attempted something of the same kind before him. Neither he nor they, however, appear to have aimed at giving a complete system of this sort, but only meant to show how situations may occur, in which it is doubtful, whether the highest propriety of conduct consists in observing or in receding from what, in ordinary cases, are the rules of duty.
36Every system of positive law may be regarded as a more or less imperfect attempt towards a system of natural jurisprudence, or towards an enumeration of the particular rules of justice. As the violation of justice is what men will never submit to from one another, the public magistrate is under a necessity of employing the power of the commonwealth to enforce the practice of this virtue. Without this precaution, civil society would become a scene of bloodshed and disorder, every man revenging himself at his own hand whenever he fancied he was injured. To prevent the confusion which would attend upon every man’s doing justice to himself, the magistrate, in all governments that have acquired any considerable authority, undertakes to do justice to all, and promises to hear and to redress every complaint of injury. In all well–governed states too, not only judges are appointed for determining the controversies of individuals, but rules are prescribed for regulating the decisions of those judges; and these rules are, in general, intended to coincide with those of natural justice. It does not, indeed, always happen that they do so in every instance. Sometimes what is called the constitution of the state, that is, the interest of the government; sometimes the interest of particular orders of men who tyrannize the government, warp the positive laws of the country from what natural justice would prescribe. In some countries, the rudeness and barbarism of the people hinder the natural sentiments of justice from arriving at that accuracy and precision which, in more civilized nations, they naturally attain to. Their laws are, like their manners, gross and rude and undistinguishing. In other countries the unfortunate constitution of their courts of judicature hinders any regular system of jurisprudence from ever establishing itself among them, though the improved manners of the people may be such as would admit of the most accurate. In no country do the decisions of positive law coincide exactly, in every case, with the rules which the natural sense of justice would dictate. Systems of positive law, therefore, though they deserve the greatest authority, as the records of the sentiments of mankind in different ages and nations, yet can never be regarded as accurate systems of the rules of natural justice.
37It might have been expected that the reasonings of lawyers, upon the different imperfections and improvements of the laws of different countries, should have given occasion to an inquiry into what were the natural rules of justice independent of all positive institution. It might have been expected that these reasonings should have led them to aim at establishing a system of what might properly be called natural jurisprudence, or a theory of the general principles which ought to run through and be the foundation of the laws of all nations.6 But though the reasonings of lawyers did produce something of this kind, and though no man has treated systematically of the laws of any particular country, without intermixing in his work many observations of this sort; it was very late in the world before any such general system was thought of, or before the philosophy of law was treated of by itself, and without regard to the particular institutions of any one nation. In none of the ancient moralists, do we find any attempt towards a particular enumeration of the rules of justice. Cicero in his Offices, and Aristotle in his Ethics, treat of justice in the same general manner in which they treat of all the other virtues. In the laws of Cicero and Plato,7 where we might naturally have expected some attempts towards an enumeration of those rules of natural equity, which ought to be enforced by the positive laws of every country, there is, however, nothing of this kind. Their laws are laws of police, not of justice.8 Grotius seems to have been the first who attempted to give the world any thing like a system of those principles which ought to run through, and be the foundation of the laws of all nations: and his treatise of the laws of war and peace, with all its imperfections, is perhaps at this day the most complete work that has yet been given upon this subject.9 I shall in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the different revolutions they have 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.10 I shall not, therefore, at present enter into any further detail concerning the history of jurisprudence.
THE PASSAGE ON ATONEMENT, AND A MANUSCRIPT FRAGMENT ON JUSTICE
TMS II.ii.3 criticizes the view that the idea of justice arises solely from utility. In editions 1–5, the chapter ends with a paragraph of orthodox theological doctrine on retributive justice. The paragraph is unusual for Smith, both in its concluding firm endorsement of Christian revelation, and in the ‘high–flying’ rhetoric of an earlier pious phrase (‘neither can he see any reason why the divine indignation should not be let loose without restraint, upon so vile an insect, as he is sensible that he himself must appear to be’—slightly toned down for edition 3). In edition 6, the paragraph was removed and replaced by a single dry sentence: ‘In every religion, and in every superstition that the world has ever beheld, accordingly, there has been a Tartarus as well as an Elysium; a place provided for the punishment of the wicked, as well as one for the reward of the just.’
This important change, made in 1788–9, would naturally lead one to think that Smith had become more sceptical about orthodox religion; or perhaps that he felt less inclination or obligation to express pious sentiments once he had quitted a Professorship of Moral Philosophy. (It is clear from the Advertisement to edition 6 that some of the revisions then made had been contemplated long before.) There has in fact been a curious controversy about possible reasons for Smith’s withdrawal of the paragraph.
William Magee, Archbishop of Dublin, published in 1801 a volume of Discourses on the Scriptural Doctrines of Atonement and Sacrifice. In edition 2, 1809, he added a number of Illustrations and Explanatory Dissertations, and in one of these (No. XXII) he quoted part of Adam Smith’s paragraph on divine justice, taking great satisfaction in the thought that the orthodox view of the Christian doctrine of Atonement was endorsed by a distinguished philosopher, ‘and he too the familiar friend of David Hume’. Elsewhere in edition 2 of his book (Dissertation No. LXIX), Magee attacked Hume along with Bolingbroke and expressed his astonishment that ‘such a man as Adam Smith’ could describe Hume, after the latter’s death, as having come as near as possible ‘to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man’. The emphasis of capital letters is of course Magee’s own addition to the words that Smith had used of Hume.
What happened next is pleasantly recounted by Rae, Life, 428–9. (Rae’s first quotation from Magee is not entirely accurate.) Magee had ended his illustration from TMS by saying that the views which Smith had supported ‘as the natural suggestions of reason’ were nevertheless ‘the scoff of sciolists and witlings’. ‘The sciolists and witlings’, writes Rae, ‘were not slow in returning the scoff, and pointing out that while Smith was, no doubt, as an intellectual authority all that the Archbishop claimed for him, his authority really ran against the Archbishop’s view and not in favour of it, inasmuch as he had withdrawn the passage relied on from the last edition of his work.’ Magee tried to extricate himself from his discomfiture by adding a footnote in edition 3 of his own book, 1812, attributing Smith’s withdrawal to ‘the infection of David Hume’s society . . . one proof more . . . of the danger, even to the most enlightened, from a familiar contact with infidelity’; and then Magee referred again to Smith’s obituary praise of Hume which had shocked so many of the conventionally religious. Rae himself joins in ‘returning the scoff’ with the comment that Smith’s ‘intercourse with Hume was at its closest when he first published the passage in 1759, whereas Hume was fourteen years in his grave when the passage was omitted’. But Magee was under a misapprehension. He thought (and, as we shall see, he was not the only one to think) that the passage had been withdrawn long before edition 6. In the added footnote in which he refers to the influence of Hume, Magee writes: ‘The fact is, that in the later editions of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, no one sentence appears of the extract which has been cited above, and which I had derived from the first edition, the only one that I possessed.’
Rae goes on to say that ‘there is no reason to believe that Smith’s opinion about the atonement was anywise different in 1790 from what it was in 1759, or for doubting his own explanation of the omission, which he is said to have given to certain Edinburgh friends, that he thought the passage unnecessary and misplaced’. The report of this explanation is in vol. ii, 40, of Memoirs of the Life and Works of Sir John Sinclair (1837) by his son, the Rev. John Sinclair. What Archdeacon Sinclair actually says of Smith is this:
In the second edition of his Theory of Moral Sentiments, he omitted, on the suggestion, as is supposed, of his sceptical friend, a splendid passage, referred to by Archbishop Magee as among the ablest illustrations of the doctrine of Atonement. In the suspicion thus excited, my father did not participate. He was anxious to think favourably of a venerated friend. Smith himself justified the omission alluded to, not on the ground that the doctrine of Atonement was unfounded, but that the paragraph was unnecessary and misplaced.
When Archdeacon Sinclair states that the passage was omitted in edition 2, he is obviously just following what he took to be the natural sense of Magee’s footnote and has not himself looked at the relevant editions of TMS. Sinclair goes on to evoke a moving image of Smith on his knees at his mother’s deathbed, praying to the Redeemer whom he was alleged to have rejected. This is supposed to be evidence either that the withdrawal of the passage on the Redeemer did not imply any loss of faith or that the faith was later regained. In fact Smith’s mother died (in 1784) several years before the withdrawal in edition 6. It is not clear from Archdeacon Sinclair’s account whether Smith’s reasons for the omission of the paragraph were given directly to Sir John Sinclair himself or, as Rae apparently infers, to others in Edinburgh. Presumably Archdeacon Sinclair was told the story by his father. If Smith did give the explanation to anyone, it must have been within the short space of time that intervened between the publication of edition 6 and his death. That would have happened only if this particular revision (a minor one, compared with others) had been noted and had excited remark very soon after publication. Oddly enough, Rae himself, despite the reference to Sinclair on p. 429 of the Life, says on p. 428 that ‘the suppression of the passage about the atonement escaped notice for twenty years’ until Magee quoted it.
After mentioning Sinclair’s report, Rae then writes:
As if taking an odd revenge for its suppression, the original manuscript of this particular passage seems to have reappeared from between the leaves of a volume of Aristotle in the year 1831, when all the rest of the MS. of the book and of Smith’s other works had long gone to destruction.
At the end of this sentence we are referred to a footnote, which simply says ‘Add. MSS., 32,574’, and so suggests that the manuscript which came to light in 1831 is now in the British Library (the British Museum). In fact this is not so. Additional Manuscript 32,574 in the British Library is Volume XVI of the Notebooks of the Rev. John Mitford (1781–1859), and it is the source of Rae’s information. The first entry in this volume is signed ‘J. Mitford’ and is dated ‘1855. Sept. 26.’ On leaf number 64, there is the following note:
on Adam Smith’s Moral Sentiments. ‘I am sorry to find sd Bp. Bathurst, that his Splendid Passage on the necessity of a Redeemer, was omitted in the Second Edition.’ The omission probably owing to his Acquaintance with Hume.
Bp Bathurst and Chalmers. +
‘Second Edition’ and ‘Splendid Passage’ show that Bathurst was simply relying on Sinclair’s book. The sign + at the end of Mitford’s original entry was presumably added later, together with this note on the facing verso of leaf 63:
A. Smith’s injunctions to his Executors to destroy all his loose Mss. were strictly followed, but that Passage so long[?] preserved, reappeared from between the folds of a Volume of Aristotle in 1831.
Discovered by Revd W. B. Cunningham of Preston Pans into whose hands Dr Smith’s Library had passed
The Rev. W. B. Cunningham of Prestonpans was the husband of one of the two daughters of David Douglas, Lord Reston, the cousin to whom Adam Smith bequeathed his books and other possessions. On the death of Lord Reston, Adam Smith’s library was divided between the two daughters. (See Bonar, Catalogue 2, intro. xvi–xvii.)
W. R. Scott, ASSP, 57–9, describes one of four manuscripts in the possession of the Glasgow University Library. This particular manuscript consists of one folio sheet of four pages, and the four documents together contain fifteen pages of writing. Scott says:
The date of these four documents is of great importance. The many avocations of Adam Smith during the first eight years he was at Glasgow [i.e. 1751–9] make it highly improbable, if not impossible, that they could have been written then, and thus they may be assigned to the Edinburgh period [i.e. 1748–51].
The one manuscript which is relevant to the present discussion is taken by Scott to be ‘introductory to a group of lectures’ on jurisprudence, delivered in Edinburgh and corresponding to the Glasgow lectures on jurisprudence, a Report of which was published by Edwin Cannan in 1896. Scott describes the manuscript as follows:
There had been a very brief account of moral obligation, and the surviving manuscript begins with the statement that ‘duty, for its own sake and without any further view, is the natural and proper object of love and reward, and vice of hatred and punishment’. Here follow the sentences on the Atonement, which appeared in the first five editions of the Theory of Moral Sentiments with small alterations. At this point in the Theory a chapter ends, and in the next a different aspect of the subject is begun. Here [i.e. in the manuscript] the discussion continues with material rewards and punishments. The sentry found asleep at his post is discussed, then the argument passes on to the institution of the civil magistrate. The authority of custom or statute law is traced back to the natural principles of justice, and the study of the rules which express it constitutes Natural Jurisprudence or the Theory of the General Principles of Law. Adam Smith indicates that he will give a particular discourse upon that subject. The concluding part of this paper discusses the relation between Justice and Benevolence and between the latter and resentment and punishment. No doubt the lectures went on (as indicated) to discuss how far these principles find expression in existing legal systems.
In footnote 2 to p. 58, Scott writes:
This manuscript may be that which was found in a volume of Aristotle in 1831 (Rae, Life, p. 261 [error for p. 429]) and described as that of a part of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. The beginning of it very closely resembles the corresponding part of the Theory. The remainder is quite different.
In footnote 5 to p. 320 of his book, Scott refers again to what he calls ‘the celebrated sentences on the Atonement’, and writes:
There is no reason to doubt Adam Smith’s own statement that they were withdrawn in the sixth edition of the Theory (1790) because they were misplaced. Rae mentions (Life, p. 429) that the manuscript, containing the sentences, was found in a volume of Aristotle in the year 1831. Whether Rae intended it or not, this has been taken to mean that the fragment discovered was a part of the Theory. It was not, being the part of the Edinburgh Lectures which is described in Part I, Chapter V [i.e. pp. 57–9]. This MS. begins with the conclusion of a discussion which is that ‘duty for its own sake’ is ‘the natural and proper object of love and reward’. As first written this lecture went on to examine in some detail the principles of legal sanctions. At an early revision the sentences on the Atonement were inserted. This obviously was not a happy arrangement. In the Theory the passage was expanded and made to close Part II, Section ii, Chapter iii. Then follows Section iii, which discusses the influence of fortune upon the sentiments of mankind, which is far from being an ideal collocation.
Scott did not print the text of the manuscript described in these quotations. It is given below, but first some comment needs to be made on several points in Scott’s account.
(1) Scott’s ground for assigning this and the other three short manuscripts (amounting in all to fifteen pages) to the period of the Edinburgh lectures is extraordinarily flimsy. Since Smith had the time, between 1751 and 1759, not only to write TMS but to compose courses of lectures which extended beyond the subject–matter of that book to natural theology, jurisprudence, and economics, why should it be supposed that his ‘many avocations’ made it ‘highly improbable, if not impossible,’ for him to compose these pieces which are all concerned with subjects that were included in his lectures as Professor of Moral Philosophy?
(2) Scott’s assertion that the initial words of the manuscript had been preceded by ‘a very brief account of moral obligation’ (how did he know that it was ‘very brief’?) is a figment of his imagination, produced by a misreading of the first word of the manuscript, which is ‘Deity’, but which Scott took to be ‘Duty’. In any case, Smith would never have said that duty is ‘the natural object of love and reward, and vice of hatred and punishment’. Obviously virtue is what corresponds to vice in this connection. The manuscript begins with words that do not make a complete sentence: ‘Deity, as it does to us, for its own sake and without any further view the natural and proper object of Love and Reward and Vice of hatred and punishment.’ Scott must have supposed that the word ‘is’ had been inadvertently omitted before ‘the natural and proper object’, and he conveniently ignored the phrase ‘as it does to us’. Clearly the word ‘Deity’ will have been preceded by some such words as ‘Virtue appears to the’. In editions 1–2 of TMS, the paragraph that was withdrawn from edition 6 contains the following sentence (in editions 3–5, the first words are revised to ‘Our untaught, natural sentiments, all’):
All our natural sentiments prompt us to believe, that as perfect virtue is supposed necessarily to appear to the Deity, as it does to us, for its own sake, and without any further view, the natural and proper object of love and reward, so must vice, of hatred and punishment.
(3) In the footnote to his p. 58, Scott says that the manuscript ‘may be’ that which was found in a volume of Aristotle in 1831, though in the footnote to p. 320 he takes for granted that it was. Scott evidently did not look up Rae’s reference to the British Library manuscript, but there is in fact positive proof that the Glasgow manuscript is the one referred to in Mitford’s second note. Mitford says the manuscript was ‘Discovered by Revd W. B. Cunningham of Preston Pans’. In the margin of the first page of the Glasgow manuscript, there is written, in a later hand:
Free Church Manse Prestonpans.
(4) In the footnote to his p. 320, Scott says there is no reason to doubt Smith’s own statement that the paragraph of editions 1–5 was withdrawn because it was ‘misplaced’. This gives only half of the reason as reported by Sinclair and Rae, namely that Smith thought the passage ‘unnecessary and misplaced’. The addition of ‘unnecessary’ makes a difference.
(5) Judging from what Scott says in the note to his p. 320, he appears to think that the manuscript ‘as first written’ did not contain anything about the Atonement. ‘At an early revision the sentences on the Atonement were inserted.’ In fact, the manuscript ‘as first written’ had this as its second sentence:
The Justice of the Deity we think cannot surely be satisfied with [error for ‘without’] demanding some attonement, some expiation for the Offences of Mankind, and Revelation teaches us that this attonement has not only been demanded but has been paid for, at least, the more valuable part of Mankind.
Later, two sentences, corresponding to further words in the paragraph of editions 1–5 of TMS, were inserted before the sentence just quoted, but they are about our consciousness of human imperfection in the sight of God rather than about the idea of atonement.
(6) The remainder of the manuscript, that is to say, by far the greater part of it, does not correspond to anything in the so–called paragraph on ‘atonement’; but many of the later words of the manuscript correspond to other passages in the printed texts of TMS, and on the second page there occur the very words ‘the Theory of moral Sentiments’. Consequently some caution is needed before accepting Scott’s hasty conclusion that the manuscript was not a part of TMS but belonged to the Edinburgh lectures.
Having cleared Scott’s preconceptions from our path, it will be best to describe the manuscript anew, and to give its full text, before discussing further its relation to the printed editions of TMS.
The manuscript (Glasgow University Library, MS. Gen. 1035/227) was originally a single folio sheet (the two halves of which have now come apart) of four pages. The watermarks, briefly mentioned by Scott in a footnote ending on his p. 266, are similar to two of those which Scott describes on his p. 322, one of them being illustrated in Plate XV which faces that page. One half of the sheet has as its watermark ‘G.R.’ within a circular emblem and surmounted by a crown, with the word ‘Durham’ beneath. The other half–sheet has the watermark of Britannia within a picket fence, and the motto ‘Pro Patria’, as illustrated in Scott’s Plate XV, but in reverse; that is to say, Britannia is sitting on the left and facing right, with the motto at her right, while in Scott’s plate she is sitting on the right and facing left, with the motto at her left. The writing on the manuscript covers the whole of the first three pages, and three–quarters of the fourth page, indicating that it then came to an end. Catchwords at the foot of the first three pages make quite clear the order in which they were written. Each of the pages has a margin at the left, and the top half of the margin on the first page contains a lengthy insertion, preceded by a figure 2 or a sign resembling it, which Adam Smith was evidently accustomed to use for this purpose, as can be seen from two of the other manuscripts which were reproduced in facsimile by Scott (ASSP, 381, 383, 385). The place, in the original writing, at which the addition is to be inserted, is likewise indicated by a figure 2. The bottom half of the margin of the first page contains the later entry made by Mr. Cunningham. The margins on the other three sheets are left blank.
In the text of the manuscript, the words originally written, and most of the revisions and insertions, are in the hand of an amanuensis. Two or three of the revisions, however, are in the hand of Adam Smith himself; e.g. the word ‘men’ substituted for ‘Mankind’ in the first paragraph; and the figure 2 at the end of the first sentence, though not the corresponding figure 2 that precedes the inserted passage in the margin. Some of the remaining revisions are written above the relevant line. Others, however, are written on the same line as, and immediately after, cancelled words, showing that Smith made some changes as he dictated the piece. This feature of the document is one piece of evidence for the conclusion that it was written before the manuscript actually used for edition 1 of TMS.
In the text that follows, square brackets enclose words or letters that are struck out or over–written in the manuscript, while angle brackets enclose words or letters that constitute revisions of cancelled material or later insertions. It will be recalled that the manuscript begins in the middle of a sentence.
Deity, as it does to us, <for its own sake and without any further view> the natural and proper object of Love and Reward and Vice of hatred and punishment.<2> <2. Nay vice we are apt to fear should appear before the holiness of God more worthy of punishment than the imperfection of human Virtue can ever be of Reward. Man when about to appear before a Being of such perfect Sanctity can feel but little Confidence in his own merit[.]<;> [But the divine Justice etc.] and when he remembers the numberless blemishes and imperfections in his own Conduct must dread punishment rather than hope for Reward. The divine Justice etc.> The <divine> Justice [of the Deity] we think cannot surely be satisfied with<out> demanding some attonement, some expiation for the Offences of [Mankind]<men>, and Revelation teaches us that this attonement has not only been demanded but has been paid for, at least, the more valuable part of Mankind.
[There are indeed] Upon some occasions indeed we punish meerly from a View to the general interest of Society which [cann] we imagine cannot be otherwise supported. The punishments, for Example, which military discipline prescribes are all inflicted from this motive, and a Centinel who falls asleep upon his Watch [is] suffers death by the Laws of War because such carelessness might endanger the whole Army. In our hearts we cannot blame this necessary Severity. Nothing can be more just, than that one man [can]<should> be sacrificed to the security of thousands. But do we regard th[e]<is> punishment in the same light in which we look upon that of an ungrateful murderer or parricide[;]<?> Does our heart naturally applaud1 the same Ardor with which it goes along with the other? We look upon the one as an unfortunate Victime who indeed must be devoted to the interest of Numbers but whom in our hearts we would be glad to save, and we are only sorry that the Interests of [others] many should oppose it. If the other should escape from punishment it would excite our highest indignation and we [w]<sh>ould call upon God to avenge <in another world> that Crime which the injustice of Mankind had neglected to chastise upon Earth.
The violation of Justice is what Mankind will never submit to from their Equals. It provokes the Resentment of the injured and incites them to take vengeance upon the Offender. They feel that Mankind applaud and go along with <t>h[i]<e>m when they punish him,2 and they imagine that they become contemptible when they do not. That civil Society may not be a Scene of Bloodshed <confusion> and disorder every man revenging himself at his own hand whenever he fancies himself injured, the Magistrates in all Governments that have acquired considerable Authority employs the power of the commonwealth to enforce the practice of Justice, and to give Satisfaction to the injured either by punishing the offender or by obliging him to compensate the wrong that has been done. The magistrate promises to hear all complaints of injustice, to enquire diligently into the circumstances alledged upon both Sides, and to give that redress which to any impartial person shall appear to be just and equitable. Hence the origin of both civil and criminal Jurisdiction. The Rules by which the magistrate[s] in [all] <each> countries actually regu[l]lates all his discisions of this kind [which]<whether> established upon express Statute, upon acc[o––?]<iden>tal custom or upon their own evident equity constitute the civil and criminal Jurisprudence of that Country. The Rules by which it is most suitable to the natural principles of Justice, or to the Analogy of those Sentiments upon which our Sense of it is founded that such descisions should be regulated, const[–?]<i>tute what is called Natural Jurisprudence, or the Theory of the general principles of Law. they make a very important part of the Theory of moral Sentiments. I shall not at present, however, stop to analyse them, as I intend hereafter to give a particular discourse upon that Subject.
When our benevolence to each particular person is exactly proportioned to the importance of those circumstances which point them out to our favourable regard, we are, by a metaphor, said to do them Justice[:]<;> and we are said to do them injustice when it is otherwise. When we chuse [–?]<r>ather, for exemple, to do a good Office to a new acquaintance than to an Old friend we are said to do Injustice to the latter. This, however, is a different Species of Injustice from that which we have been treating of above. It does not consist in doing hurt, but in not doing good according to the most perfect propriety. In the Schools it has been distinguished by the name of d[e?]<i>stributive Justice, as the former, which can alone properly be called Justice, has been denominated commutat[––?]<iv>e Justice. In the observation of distributive Justice consists the proper exercise of all the social and beneficent Virtues. It cannot be extorted by force. The violation of it does no positive harm, and therefor, exposes to no punishment. The Rules which determine the external actions which it prescribes, are loose and unaccurate and fall short of that exact pre[s]<c>ision, which, as I shall show hereafter, is peculiar to the Rules of what is properly called Justice. The Rules of punishment have been by most Writers referred to distributive Justice as well as the Rules of Beneficence, and they seem to have imagined that improper vengea[––?]<nc>e was an impropriety of the same kind with improper Benevolence. There is indeed a certain degree of looseness and inaccuracy [of] in what may be called the natural principles of punishment. What is the extent of the Right which is violated, and wherein consists its v[e?]<i>olation, can in almost all cases be determined with exact precision. But what degree of Resentment or punishment is due for this violation cannot easily be fixed exactly by general Rules which have any great foundation in nature; but varies with every variety of Circumstances: And so far the principles and rules of punishments resemble those of Beneficence. But they differ from them in another Circumstance which is much more essential, and which those Writers have not perhaps, sufficiently attended to. Improper punishment, punishment which is either not due at all or which exceeds the demerit of the Crime, is an injury to the Criminal, may and ought to be opposed by force, and if inflicted, exposes the person who inflicts it to punishment in his turn. But meer improper Beneficence cannot be opposed by force and exposes the person who exercises it to no punishment.
Compare the following set of extracts from TMS. References are given to the arrangement of chapters and paragraphs in the present (and so in the sixth) edition, but since the manuscript is earlier than any of the printed texts, the actual words and punctuation of the quotations are taken (except for the sixth extract) from edition 1.
All our natural sentiments prompt us to believe, that as perfect virtue is supposed necessarily to appear to the Deity, as it does to us, for its own sake, and without any further view, the natural and proper object of love and reward, so must vice, of hatred and punishment. . . . If we consult our natural sentiments, we are apt to fear, lest before the holiness of God, vice should appear to be more worthy of punishment than the weakness and imperfection of human virtue can ever seem to be of reward. Man, when about to appear before a being of infinite perfection, can feel but little confidence in his own merit, . . . he can easily conceive, how the numberless violations of duty, of which he has been guilty, should render him the proper object of aversion and punishment; . . . Some other intercession, some other sacrifice, some other atonement, he imagines, must be made for him, beyond what he himself is capable of making, before the purity of the divine justice can be reconciled to his manifold offences. The doctrines of revelation . . . show us . . . that the most powerful intercession has been made, and that the most dreadful atonement has been paid for our manifold transgressions and iniquities.
(II.ii.3, final paragraph—the one suppressed in edition 6)
Upon some occasions, indeed, we both punish and approve of punishment, merely from a view to the general interest of society, which, we imagine, cannot otherwise be secured. Of this kind are all the punishments inflicted for breaches of what is called either civil police, or military discipline. . . . A centinel, for example, who falls asleep upon his watch, suffers death by the laws of war, because such carelessness might endanger the whole army. This severity may, upon many occasions, appear necessary, and, for that reason, just and proper. When the preservation of an individual is inconsistent with the safety of a multitude, nothing can be more just than that the many should be preferred to the one. Yet this punishment, how necessary soever, always appears to be excessively severe. The natural atrocity of the crime seems to be so little, and the punishment so great, that it is with great difficulty that our heart can reconcile itself to it. . . . A man of humanity . . . must make an effort . . . before he can . . . go along with it . . . It is not, however, in this manner, that he looks upon the just punishment of an ungrateful murderer or parricide. His heart, in this case, applauds with ardour, and even with transport, the just retaliation which seems due to such detestable crimes, . . . He looks upon the centinel as an unfortunate victim, who, indeed, must, and ought to be, devoted to the safety of numbers, but whom still, in his heart, he would be glad to save; and he is only sorry, that the interest of the many should oppose it. But if the murderer should escape from punishment, it would excite his highest indignation, and he would call upon God to avenge, in another world, that crime which the injustice of mankind had neglected to chastise upon earth.
There is, however, another virtue, . . . of which the violation exposes to resentment, and consequently to punishment. This virtue is justice: the violation of justice is injury: . . . It is, therefore, the proper object of resentment, and of punishment, . . . As mankind go along with, and approve of, the violence employed to avenge the hurt which is done by injustice, so they much more go along with, and approve of, that which is employed to prevent and beat off the injury, . . .
Among equals each individual is naturally . . . regarded as having a right both to defend himself from injuries, and to exact a certain degree of punishment . . .
As the violation of justice is what men will never submit to from one another, the publick magistrate is under a necessity of employing the power of the commonwealth to enforce the practice of this virtue. Without this precaution, civil society would become a scene of bloodshed and disorder, every man revenging himself at his own hand whenever he fancied he was injured. To prevent the confusion which would attend upon every man’s doing justice to himself, the magistrate, in all governments that have acquired any considerable authority, undertakes to do justice to all, and promises to hear and to redress every complaint of injury. In all well–governed states too not only judges are appointed for determining the controversies of individuals, but rules are prescribed for regulating the decisions of those judges; and these rules are, in general, intended to coincide with those of natural justice. . . . In no country do the decisions of positive law coincide exactly in every case with the rules which the natural sense of justice would dictate.
The wisdom of every state or commonwealth endeavours . . . to restrain those who are subject to its authority, from hurting or disturbing the happiness of one another. The rules which it establishes for this purpose, constitute the civil and criminal law of each particular state or country. The principles upon which those rules either are, or ought to be founded, are the subject of a particular science, of all sciences by far the most important, but hitherto, perhaps, the least cultivated, that of natural jurisprudence; concerning which it belongs not to our present subject to enter into any detail.
(VI.ii.intro.2. This passage was first added in edition 6.)
It might have been expected that the reasonings of lawyers . . . should have led them to aim at establishing a system of what might properly be called natural jurisprudence, or a theory of the general principles which ought to run through and be the foundation of the laws of all nations. . . . I shall in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, . . . I shall not, therefore, at present enter into any further detail concerning the history of jurisprudence.
In one sense we are said to do justice to our neighbour when we abstain from doing him any positive harm, and do not directly hurt him, . . . This is that justice which I have treated of above, the observance of which may be extorted by force, and the violation of which exposes to punishment. In another sense we are said not to do justice to our neighbour unless we conceive for him all that love, respect and esteem, which his character, his situation, and his connection with ourselves, render suitable and proper for us to feel, and unless we act accordingly. It is in this sense that we are said to do injustice to a man of merit who is connected with us, tho’ we abstain from hurting him in every respect, if we do not exert ourselves to serve him . . . The first sense of the word coincides with what Aristotle and the Schoolmen call commutative justice, and with what Grotius calls the justitia expletrix, which consists in abstaining from what is anothers, and in doing voluntarily whatever we can with propriety be forced to do. The second sense of the word coincides with what some have called distributive justice [Added footnote: ‘The distributive justice of Aristotle is somewhat different . . .’], and with the justitia attributrix of Grotius, which consists in proper beneficence, in the becoming use of what is our own, and in the applying it to those purposes either of charity or generosity, to which it is most suitable in our situation that it should be applied. In this sense justice comprehends all the social virtues. There is yet another sense in which the word justice is sometimes taken, . . . Thus we are said to do injustice to a poem or a picture, when we do not admire them enough, . . . In the same manner we are said to do injustice to ourselves when we appear not to give sufficient attention to any particular object of self–interest. In this last sense, what is called justice means the same thing with exact and perfect propriety of conduct and behaviour, . . .
The decision of this question . . . will depend . . . secondly, upon the precision and exactness, or the looseness and inaccuracy of the general rules themselves.
Secondly, I say, it will depend partly upon the precision and exactness, or the looseness and inaccuracy of the general rules themselves, . . .
The general rules of almost all the virtues . . . are in many respects loose and inaccurate, . . .
There is, however, one virtue of which the general rules determine with the greatest exactness every external action which it requires. This virtue is justice.
Beneficence is always free, it cannot be extorted by force, the meer want of it exposes to no punishment: . . .
The printed editions of TMS do not contain several sentences found towards the end of the manuscript, concerning the difference between improper vengeance or punishment and improper benevolence. It may be thought that this is because Adam Smith wanted to reserve the topic for his projected book on jurisprudence, but a more likely explanation is that he had changed his view by the time he came to publish TMS. Two points require notice.
(1) In the manuscript, Smith says, of the natural principles of punishment, that the extent and character of the violation of a right can be determined with precision, but not the degree of resentment or punishment due, since this latter varies with circumstances. Now there is evidence in the manuscript that, at the time when Smith dictated it, he had not yet thought out his theory of the impartial spectator (a theory which underwent considerable development between the publication of editions 1 and 6 of TMS, as can be seen in the elaboration of the account of conscience in Part III, first for edition 2 and then again for edition 6). When discussing the function of the magistrate, the manuscript says that he ‘promises to hear all complaints of injustice, . . . and to give that redress which to any impartial person shall appear to be just and equitable’. TMS reproduces this simply as ‘promises to hear and to redress every complaint of injury’. If Smith had included at this time the reference to ‘any impartial person’, he would certainly have written of the impartial ‘spectator’ instead. Once he had formulated his theory of the impartial spectator, he of course took the view that the proper degree of resentment or punishment was that which had the sympathy of the impartial spectator, as we can see from II.ii.2 of TMS. This chapter relates to resentment. That Smith would hold the same view of punishment is obvious enough, but can be confirmed from the two extant Reports of his lectures on jurisprudence. LJ(A), a full Report of lectures delivered in 1762–3, contains the following sentences at ii.89–90.
Now in all cases the measure of the punishment to be inflicted on the delinquent is the concurrence of the impartial spectator with the resentment of the injured. If the injury is so great as that the spectator can go along with the injured person in revenging himself by the death of the offender, this is the proper punishment, and what is to be exacted by the offended person or the magistrate in his place who acts in the character of an impartial spectator. . . . In all cases a punishment appears equitable in the eyes of the [unconcerned spectator] <rest of mankind> when it is such that the spectator would concur with the offended person in exacting.
In LJ(B), a summarized version of lectures delivered in 1763–4, the corresponding passage is at 181 (Cannan ed., 136): ‘Injury naturaly excites the resentment of the spectator, and the punishment of the offender is reasonable as far as the indifferent spectator can go along with it. This is the natural measure of punishment.’
Consequently Smith would no longer accept the view that the rules of punishment resemble those of beneficence in being imprecise. That is why the relevant sentences of the manuscript are not reproduced in TMS, either at II.ii.1, where justice and beneficence are compared, or at III.6.8–10, where Smith distinguishes the precision of the rules of justice from the looseness of the rules of other virtues.
(2) Having noted an apparent similarity between improper punishment and improper benevolence, the manuscript goes on to contrast them, in that improper punishment may and ought to be opposed by force and renders the inflicter of it liable to punishment in his turn as having done an injury, while improper beneficence cannot be opposed by force and exposes to no punishment. The conclusion about ‘improper’ (i.e. want of proper) beneficence is reproduced in TMS at II.ii.1.3, but not that about improper punishment. It is indeed surprising that nowhere in TMS does Smith repeat the statement in the manuscript that ‘Improper punishment, punishment which is either not due at all or which exceeds the demerit of the Crime, is an injury to the Criminal’. This is not only a sound expression of what Smith would call our ‘natural moral sentiments’; it is a point which one would expect Smith, as an upholder of the retributive or desert theory of punishment, to include in his criticism of the utilitarian account of justice. Why does he not do so?
The fact is that Smith found himself in a cleft stick on this issue and had not thought out his position consistently. In the manuscript he says that the sentinel is punished for reasons of utility (‘meerly from a View to the general interest of Society’), but he then writes: ‘In our hearts we cannot blame this necessary Severity. Nothing can be more just [our italics], than that one man should be sacrificed to the security of thousands.’ In the printed text of TMS, the sentences just quoted are modified and elaborated.
This severity may, upon many occasions, appear necessary, and, for that reason, just and proper. When the preservation of an individual is inconsistent with the safety of a multitude, nothing can be more just than that the many should be preferred to the one. Yet this punishment, how necessary soever, always appears to be excessively severe. The natural atrocity of the crime seems to be so little, and the punishment so great, that it is with great difficulty that our heart can reconcile itself to it. Though such carelessness appears very blameable, yet the thought of this crime does not naturally excite any such resentment, as would prompt us to take such dreadful revenge.
Smith is still prepared to say it is ‘just’ (as well as ‘proper’) to inflict, for utilitarian reasons, a punishment whose severity exceeds the ‘natural atrocity’ of the crime. But in these circumstances he could not say elsewhere, as the manuscript does, that ‘punishment . . . which exceeds the demerit of the Crime, is an injury to the Criminal’, for ‘injury’ means a breach of justice.
The extant Reports of the lectures on jurisprudence quote Smith as again using the example of the sentinel. In LJ(B) 182 (Cannan ed., 136), he is still prepared to call the punishment ‘just’: ‘if a centinel be put to death for leaving3 his post, tho’ the punishment be just and the injury that might have ensued be very great, yet mankind can never enter into this punishment as if he had been a thief or a robber.’ But in LJ(A) ii.92, Smith expresses himself more cautiously:
In the same manner the military laws punish a centinell who falls asleep upon guard with death. This is intirely founded on the consideration of the publick good; and tho we may perhaps [our italics] approve of the sacrificing one person for the safety of a few, yet such a punishment when it is inflicted affects us in a very different manner from that of a cruel murtherer or other attrocious criminall.
Apart from the few sentences comparing improper punishment with improper benevolence, the whole of the substance of our manuscript fragment, often with the self–same words, is included in different parts of TMS. It is interesting to observe that, even when writing new material for edition 6, Smith was prepared to repeat some of the thought of the manuscript fragment, and even to introduce a brief phrase (but perhaps only by chance) that had occurred in the manuscript and that he had not previously used in TMS.
There can be no doubt that the manuscript is earlier than edition 1 of the book. As we have already observed, some of the corrections in the manuscript were made at the first dictation of the material, and it is the revised words, together with insertions made subsequently, that find a place in edition 1 of TMS. Often, too, the version in the printed text expands and improves upon the thought of the manuscript. The discussion of the sentinel is one, but not the only, clear instance of such improvement. Then again there is the evidence already cited that in the manuscript the theory of the impartial spectator has not yet been explicitly formulated.
Having established that the manuscript preceded the one submitted to the printer for edition 1 of the TMS, we can now consider for what purpose it was written. There are two possibilities, (1) that it was part of an early draft of the book, and (2) that it was part of a lecture. The first hypothesis receives some support from one piece of evidence, namely the occurrence in the manuscript of the very words ‘the Theory of moral Sentiments’. As against that, however, there are two considerations which point, one of them strongly, to the alternative hypothesis of a lecture.
First, in the manuscript Smith states his intention ‘hereafter to give a particular discourse’ on natural jurisprudence or the theory of the general principles of law. In the last paragraph of TMS he says he will endeavour ‘in another discourse’ to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the history of jurisprudence. Here ‘another discourse’ means, of course, another book; but that cannot be the meaning of the words in the manuscript, ‘I intend hereafter to give a particular discourse’. To give a particular discourse can only mean to deliver a lecture, or possibly a series of lectures.
The second consideration is less compelling, though worth mentioning. The manuscript stops before the end of a page, as do the two manuscripts of similar length reproduced in facsimile by Scott in ASSP, 379–85. Scott mentions (58) that these three manuscripts differ from the larger ‘early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations’ (the text of which he prints on pp. 322–53) in that a new chapter, in the latter work, follows on from the previous one, on the same page, if there is room, instead of beginning on a fresh page. The first printed versions of TMS and WN often begin a new chapter on the same page as the end of the previous chapter, if there is adequate space left, and one can infer that this was Smith’s practice in the manuscripts for those books, since the printers of the first editions appear to have followed their copy closely in other respects. We can therefore agree with Scott that the blank space at the end of three of the short manuscripts, including the one discussed here, is a reason for regarding them as the final portions of lectures.
Whatever may be said, however, of the two other fragments, which deal with economics,4 there is no reason to assign our particular manuscript to Smith’s Edinburgh lectures, which, so far as we know, did not deal with ethics. Scott attributed this lecture to the Edinburgh period because he took it to be an introduction to lectures on law and because he thought Smith must have been too busy, during his first years in Glasgow, to write about law and economics. Since it is now perfectly clear that this particular manuscript covers the subject–matter of parts of TMS, the obvious conclusion is that it comes from one of the lectures which he gave as Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow.
The lecture was, of course, on justice, and the single sentence about the Christian doctrine of the Atonement is relatively incidental. Smith’s retention of this sheet cannot possibly have been due to any desire he might have had to re–arrange the position in TMS of the paragraph on divine justice. If he did have that purpose, he would have kept the whole paragraph, not just a sheet which begins in the middle of it; and in any event he would have used the fuller version of the paragraph that was printed in editions 1–5, and not the shorter version that he had originally written for his lecture course. It is perhaps idle to speculate on the reasons why this particular sheet happened to be placed in one of Smith’s books and so preserved, but if conjecture may be allowed, one can hazard a different suggestion.
We have already noted that certain sentences at the end of the manuscript were not used in TMS, partly because Smith had altered his view on one point and partly because he would have seen a difficulty in his position on another. Now in these sentences of the manuscript, he is discussing what he takes to be the scholastic view of distributive justice, as distinguished from commutative justice, which, he has said, can alone properly be called justice. The distinction between different senses of the term ‘justice’ is described in TMS at VII.ii.1.10. We are there told that one sense ‘coincides with what Aristotle and the Schoolmen call commutative justice’, and that a second sense ‘coincides with what some have called distributive justice’ [our italics]. At this point Smith inserts a footnote to explain that ‘The distributive justice of Aristotle is somewhat different’. The note goes on to give a succinct explanation of Aristotle’s view and ends with a reference to the Nicomachean Ethics. Now Mitford’s information was that Mr. Cunningham found the manuscript in a volume of Aristotle, and it is not too fanciful in the circumstances to suppose that the volume was, or included, Aristotle’s Ethics. In preparing his earlier thoughts for publication, Smith would have checked many of his statements, and in this instance he would have found, by reference to Aristotle, that some qualification was needed to the bare statement in the lecture that ‘in the Schools’ the name of distributive justice was used for the proper allocation of beneficence. Following up this line of thought, one can even suggest an identification of the particular volume in which the manuscript was found. Adam Smith had a copy of the Works of Aristotle in Greek and Latin, edited by du Val and published in four folio volumes at Paris in 1629. (Bonar, Catalogue 2, 10, incorrectly gives the date as 1729.) Apart from this, he had separate editions of the Rhetoric and of the Poetics but no separate edition of the Ethics. Volume III of the du Val edition includes Aristotle’s ethical writings, and it is quite likely that this volume was the one in which the manuscript was found. Smith’s copy of the du Val Aristotle was certainly among the books that were bequeathed to Mrs. Cunningham, and it is now in the Library of the Queen’s University of Belfast. It would be pleasant to be able to report that Volume III shows some line of discoloration as the result of having secreted a folded sheet of paper for some seventy years, either at the relevant part of the Nicomachean Ethics or in the endpapers, but the Sub–Librarian at the Queen’s University tells us that there is no such trace.
Returning from these speculations to the fairly solid facts established earlier, there are some further inferences that may be drawn from the manuscript. To those who know the content of TMS, the title of the book seems a little strange, for the basic concepts of Smith’s distinctive theory are sympathy and the impartial spectator, not moral sentiments. In the manuscript, Smith uses the phrase ‘the Theory of moral Sentiments’ as parallel to ‘the Theory of the general principles of Law’, and from this we can see that the title of his book is not meant to describe his own individual contribution to ethics but is his name for the scope of the subject in general (just as more recent writers have entitled their books The Theory of Good and Evil or The Theory of Morals, meaning that they are writing essays in ethical theory, not that their own views alone can properly be called ‘the’ theory). Once we realize that Smith’s title is his name for the subject, it no longer seems strange. He was first taught ethics by Hutcheson, but Hume was the thinker who stimulated him to form a theory of his own. In Smith’s eyes Hume had demonstrated conclusively that moral judgement and action are not based on reason but on ‘sentiment’ or feeling. Hume had further suggested that the ‘peculiar sentiment of morals’ is mediated by sympathy; and Smith found this suggestion attractive in principle but over–simplified in its assumption that there was a single, ‘peculiar’, moral sentiment to be explained. He therefore elaborated a more complex account of sympathy, that would explain the distinction between several different forms of moral sentiment, the ‘sense of propriety’, of virtue, of merit, of duty. Hence he regards the task of ethical theory as that of giving an account of ‘moral sentiments’ in the plural.
Another inference from the manuscript that can be made with confidence is this. It has always been supposed, from hearsay and intrinsic probability, that Smith worked up TMS from his lectures on ethics. The manuscript provides definite proof that he did so, even to the extent of repeating many of the very words of his lectures in their written form. Some, slightly hazardous, internal evidence pointing in this direction can be found in the book itself, as is mentioned in section 1(a) of our Introduction (p. 4) and in editorial footnotes at II.i.1, IV.2.7 and 9, and VII.iii.1.2. But comparison of the manuscript with relevant parts of the printed texts puts the matter beyond any doubt.
This leads to yet another point. Rae (Life, 260–1) reports the opinion of J. R. McCulloch that Smith dictated WN to an amanuensis but wrote the manuscript of TMS in his own hand, and that this accounts for a difference in the style of the two works. Rae is sceptical, since there is no evidence that McCulloch had anything more to go on than his own impression that the style of WN is more diffuse than that of TMS, and Rae himself does not share that impression. We can be fairly certain, from our knowledge of Smith’s extensive use of amanuenses, that WN was indeed dictated. Now if Smith was using an amanuensis even for his lectures, it seems likely that he would have done so for the manuscript of TMS.5 Evidence from another quarter, however, makes this less certain. A comparison of details of antique spellings in edition 1 of WN with corresponding details in letters written in Smith’s own hand, shows clearly enough that he himself did not write the manuscript used by the printers. A similar scrutiny of details of spelling and contractions in edition 1 of TMS, on the other hand, shows little deviation from, and indeed a good deal of correspondence with, Smith’s practice in his letters. So it is possible that he did write the manuscript of his first book in his own hand. Nevertheless, we have already seen that much of the actual phraseology and construction of sentences repeats material in the lectures, which he had dictated to an amanuensis. If, as McCulloch believed, dictation produced a more diffuse style, the effect should be apparent in TMS too. One can of course account for differences of style in the two books, if differences there be, simply by the difference in Smith’s age at the respective dates of composition. Certainly the passages added in edition 6 of TMS tend to be more diffuse than the writing of the original book, but the simplest explanation of this is that in 1759 Smith was a man in his thirties, while in 1788–9 he was in his sixties.
So much for the manuscript fragment. A good deal can be learned from it about the composition of TMS, but nothing about the reasons why Smith withdrew the paragraph on divine justice. In returning to this question, we want to suggest that Archbishop Magee was not so silly as Rae supposed, but we must state clearly at the outset that our suggestion on this issue is to a certain extent speculative.
The paragraph withdrawn from edition 6 occurred at the end of a chapter that considers the extent to which the sense of justice depends on utility. Earlier in the chapter, Smith gives partial support to a utilitarian theory of justice, and speaks of ‘the account commonly given of our approbation of the punishment of injustice’ (II.ii.3.7). In LJ(A) ii.90, he again discusses utilitarian theories of ‘the originall measure of punishments’, which, he says, have been held by ‘Grotius and other writers’. But if one thinks of a utilitarian account of justice in general, Smith must surely have regarded Hume as the main contemporary proponent. His description of the utilitarian account in TMS II.ii.3.6 seems to refer particularly to Hume’s view that utility pleases through sympathy. Writing in the 1750s, Smith was bound to recall that Hume, in the Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), had argued strongly for the view that justice, unlike benevolence, arises solely from utility. Consequently, even though Smith’s criticism of the utilitarian view of justice may have been aimed originally at a wider target, in the particular context of TMS II.ii.3 it must have seemed, and indeed have been intended, to be primarily directed against Hume, as are Smith’s criticisms of utilitarianism elsewhere in the book.
This conclusion is confirmed by a couple of minor revisions of the disputed paragraph that were introduced in edition 3. Editions 1 and 2 state that a utilitarian view of divine justice ‘is not the doctrine of nature, but of an artificial, though ingenious, refinement of philosophy’, and that ‘All our natural sentiments prompt us’ to take a non–utilitarian view. In edition 3, the first phrase becomes ‘is not the doctrine of untaught nature but of an artificial refinement of reason and philosophy’, and the second phrase becomes ‘Our untaught, natural sentiments, all prompt us’. The addition of ‘untaught’ in both sentences plainly takes account of Hume’s distinction between different senses of the term ‘natural’ (Treatise of Human Nature, III.i.2, III.ii.1; ed. Selby–Bigge, 474–5, 484).
It is likely that Hume would have discussed with Smith in conversation their radical difference of opinion on the place of utility in moral judgement, and the minor revision noted above may be due to Hume’s criticism. It is also possible that Hume may have teased Smith about his acceptance of conventional orthodoxy on theological matters. However that may be, edition 3 of TMS contains some further minor revisions of the paragraphs on divine justice, and of later remarks on the character of the clergyman, toning down the categorical affirmations of the original version. Editions 1 and 2 said that a non–retributive view of divine justice ‘can, by no means, be so easily admitted’; edition 3 alters this to ‘seems repugnant to some very natural feelings’. Editions 1 and 2 stated firmly that man can see no reason why he should not be the subject of divine indignation; edition 3 says ‘he thinks he can see no reason’. In editions 1 and 2, man ‘is sensible’ that he appears to God to be a vile insect, and ‘is conscious’ that he is undeserving of happiness; in edition 3, he only ‘imagines’ the first and ‘suspects’ the second. In editions 1 and 2, repentance, sorrow, humiliation, and contrition ‘are’ the sentiments which become him; in edition 3, they ‘seem’ so. A similar problematic note is struck by a revision in the preceding paragraph (II.ii.3.12) of ‘religion authorises’ to ‘religion, we suppose, authorises’. Then again, at V.2.5, the clergyman, who in editions 1 and 2 ‘is’ the messenger of serious tidings and ‘is’ continually occupied with the grand and solemn, becomes in edition 3 one who ‘seems to be’ the former and ‘is supposed to be’ the latter. It is of course possible that the more cautious statements of edition 3 represent Smith’s original views, the expression of which he felt would be injudicious as coming from a Professor of Moral Philosophy but which honesty obliged him to make clear after he had quitted his Chair. At any rate we ought to note that, in Smith’s revision of TMS, the withdrawal of the paragraph on divine justice in edition 6 was not the first suggestion that he might have moved away from orthodox theology.
Whether or not the changes made in edition 3 were influenced by discussion with Hume, there is no doubt that the criticism of utilitarianism which ends with the paragraph on divine justice was first and foremost a criticism of Hume. In the light of this, let us consider what Smith might have been ready to say in 1759 and reluctant to let stand after the death of Hume in 1776. (Edition 5 of TMS appeared in 1781, but at this juncture we can properly say that Smith’s ‘many avocations’ prevented him for a long time from making the radical revisions that he had contemplated.) It will be recalled that Magee had been shocked by Smith’s estimate of Hume’s character, and in this Magee was not alone. The phrase that Magee quoted had given great offence to the faithful at the time of its original publication. It came in the last sentence of Letter 178 addressed to William Strahan, dated 9 November 1776, soon after Hume’s death. The letter was written for publication along with Hume’s short autobiography. Smith knew very well that he was stirring up a hornet’s nest, but although he was temperamentally averse from public controversy on matters of religion, he deliberately ended his letter with the statement that Hume had come as near to perfect virtue as human frailty allowed. It was written with the deepest sincerity, on the death of Smith’s greatest friend, whom the world called an ‘atheist’. When Smith came to revise his book on ethics, he must surely have felt some revulsion from concluding a criticism of Hume with a paragraph whose language echoed the sermons of those ‘high–flying’ preachers who had been the bitterest detractors of Hume. It is no wonder, if Archdeacon Sinclair’s report is authentic, that Smith should have thought the paragraph ‘unnecessary and misplaced’. It was unnecessary because the preceding criticism of utilitarian theory stood firmly enough on its own ground of appeal to our ‘natural sentiments’. It was misplaced because it was (after 1776, at least) quite the wrong spirit in which to end a polemic directed as much against his dead friend as against anyone else. So instead of Christian doctrine about expiation and atonement, Smith made his own atonement by substituting a sentence so Humean in tone that it might almost be called a libation to Hume’s ghost: ‘In every religion, and in every superstition that the world has ever beheld, accordingly, there has been a Tartarus as well as an Elysium; a place provided for the punishment of the wicked, as well as one for the reward of the just.’
Rae concludes his account of the controversy by saying (Life, 429–30) that ‘Smith gives a fresh expression to his belief in a future state and an all–seeing Judge in one of the new passages he wrote’ for edition 6, showing ‘that he died as he lived, in the full faith of those doctrines of natural religion which he had publicly taught’. Certainly Smith never abandoned natural religion. The new passages (there are in fact two of them, at III.2.12 and III.2.33) about the all–seeing Judge seem at first sight to be very near in doctrine to the suppressed paragraph, and indeed one might wonder why, if Smith really wanted to retain the paragraph in another place, he did not insert it there. Yet a closer look at the ‘all–seeing Judge’ passages gives a different impression. Rae quotes from the first of them but does not mention that Smith reverts to the idea more fully towards the end of the same chapter. The new passages, like the suppressed paragraph, are about the doctrine of divine reward and punishment in an afterlife, but Smith does not now give unqualified support to the doctrine as preached by Christians. The notion of heavenly reward, says Smith, is the only comfort for unrecognized innocence and virtue, but it has too often been taught in a form that contradicts our moral sentiments by confining divine salvation to the religious. He quotes and derides an address of Massillon to the effect that soldiers cannot hope for the heaven which one day of penance and mortification in a monk’s cell can bring. ‘To compare, in this manner, the futile mortifications of a monastery, to the ennobling hardships and hazards of war . . . is surely contrary to all our moral sentiments’. A paragraph of support for theology is followed by two paragraphs of scorn for ‘monks and friars’ as contrasted with ‘heroes, . . . statesmen and lawgivers, . . . poets and philosophers . . . all the great protectors, instructors, and benefactors of mankind; all those to whom our natural sense of praise–worthiness forces us to ascribe the highest merit and most exalted virtue’. Smith then ends his chapter by quoting Voltaire’s satirical couplet on the Christian concept of hell:
If Smith had added to this honours list of the ancients a similar one for the moderns, he would have put Hume at the head of it to correspond to Plato (and Plato’s Socrates). Smith’s derision of ‘monks and friars’ and ‘the futile mortifications of a monastery’ has a familiar ring. It was Hume who wrote (Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, IX.i; ed. Selby–Bigge, §219) that ‘penance, mortification, . . . and the whole train of monkish virtues . . . are . . . everywhere rejected by men of sense’. And it was Adam Smith who deliberately imitated the last sentence of Plato’s Phaedo by ending his epitaph to Hume with the judgement that Hume had approached ‘as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit’.
Addendum to Introduction, pp. 32–3
A second Japanese translation was published in 1973:
Dōtoku–kanjōron, translated by Hiroshi Mizuta from ed. 1, with notes of revisions made in subsequent editions; Tokyo, 1973.
[*] Inquiry concerning Virtue.
 Smith’s memory has misled him. Hutcheson’s distinction between ‘direct and antecedent’ perceptions and ‘reflex or subsequent’ perceptions is not in the Essay on the . . . Passions and Affections (to which Smith’s note refers), but in a later work, Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy (or, in its original Latin form, Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria), I.i.3.
 Consequently not analogous to the external senses, as Smith has suggested in § 5 above.
[*] Illustrations upon the Moral Sense, sect. 1. p. 237, et seq.; third edition [Raphael, British Moralists 1650–1800, § 364].
 §§ 9–10 above.
[a–a]2E or to 1 to 2–7
[b–b] ∼. 1–7
 IV.2.3 ff. The ‘system’ referred to is that of Hume. Smith’s distinction between the type of sympathy that enters into Hume’s ethics and the two types that he himself has used is entirely just.
 Cf. Nicomachean Ethics, IV.1–3, 5, 8.
 Cicero, De Officiis, I.x.32; III.xxix.107. Samuel Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae et Gentium, III.vi.11–13; IV.ii.8: De Officio Hominis et Civis, I.ix.15.3. Jean Barbeyrac, French translator and editor of Pufendorf, agrees with the latter’s view in notes to the first two of the passages cited, especially the second, where Barbeyrac also opposes the contrary opinion of Jean La Placette, a French Protestant theologian and moralist, as given in Traité du serment (1701), II.21. Francis Hutcheson, Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria (English version, Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy), II.ix.9: System of Moral Philosophy, II.ix.5.
 Cf. St. Augustine, Letters, 125.3. For La Placette see preceding note.
[a–a]1–5 ∼⁁6 7
[b]At this point, eds. 1–5 continue, without a fresh paragraph, The great pleasure of conversation, and indeed of society, arises from . . ., and then proceed as in § 28. §§ 23–7, and the beginning of § 28, were added in ed. 6.
[c–c] The great pleasure of conversation, and indeed of society, arises 1–5 Ed. 6 has here rejoined the text of the earlier editions. See noteb at § 22 above.
[d]At this point, eds. 1–5 continue the paragraph with four further sentences, withdrawn in ed. 6. We give the text of ed. 1 with the variants of eds. 2–5 below.
If to conceal is so disagreeable, to attempt to deceive us is still more disgusting, even tho’ [though 2–5] we could possibly suffer nothing by the success of the fraud. If we see that our companion wants to impose upon us, if the sentiments and opinions which he utters appear evidently not to be his own, let them be ever so fine, we can derive no sort of entertainment from them; and if something of human nature did not now and then transpire through all the covers which falshood [falsehood 4 5] and affectation are capable of wraping [wrapping 4 5] around it, a puppet of wood would be altogether as pleasant a companion as a person who never spoke as he was affected. No man ever deceives, with regard to the most insignificant matters, who is not conscious of doing something like an injury to those he converses with; and who does not inwardly blush and shrink back with shame and confusion even at the secret thought of a detection. Breach of veracity, therefore, being always attended with some degree of remorse and self–condemnation, naturally fell under the cognizance of the casuists.
[e] §§ 29–31 were added in ed. 6.
 Cf. II.iii.4–5, a passage likewise added in ed. 6.
 Cf. LJ(B) 1 (Cannan ed., 1): ‘Jurisprudence is that science which inquires into the general principles which ought to be the foundation of the laws of all nations.’ See note 9 below.
 i.e. Plato’s Laws and Cicero’s De Legibus.
 For Smith’s distinction between justice and ‘police’ cf. LJ(A) I.1–4, VI.1–2; LJ(B) 5, 203 (Cannan ed., 3, 154); especially the last passage, where Smith explains that the function of police in relation to security is ‘the execution of justice, so far as it regards regulations for preventing crimes, or the method of keeping a city guard’. In the present context he is evidently distinguishing between general principles of justice and detailed laws and institutions for giving effect to those principles.
 Cf. LJ(B) 1 (Cannan ed., 1): ‘Grotius seems to have been the first who attempted to give the world any thing like a regular system of natural jurisprudence, and his treatise on the laws of war and peace, with all its imperfections, is perhaps at this day the most compleat work on this subject.’ The correspondence here and at note 6 above is so close as to suggest that the form of LJ(B) represents Smith’s draft of a version of his jurisprudence lectures that would be fit for publication.
 Cf. § 2 of the Advertisement with which ed. 6 begins.
 The word ‘with’ has presumably been omitted.
 In the final word of this clause, the amanuensis appears to have begun to write ‘th’ (i.e. ‘them’?) and then changed it to ‘h’.
 Perhaps Smith in fact said ‘sleeping at’ and was misheard by the student whose report is copied in LJ(B). The sentinel would have been more culpable if he had deliberately left his post.
 Ronald L. Meek and Andrew S. Skinner, ‘The Development of Adam Smith’s Ideas on the Division of Labour’, Economic Journal, lxxxiii (1973), 1094–1116 (especially 1104–6), give reasons for assigning these two fragments to an even later period, the 1760s.
 The draft revision of 1759, sent to Sir Gilbert Elliot, is in the hand of an amanuensis.