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14.: From DAVID HUME - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith 
Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987).
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From DAVID HUME
MS., Houghton Library, Harvard University, T.P. 2050.50.2; NHL 35–7.
Edinburgh, 27 Feb. 1754
I am writing kind of circular Letters, recommending Mr Blacklock’s2 Poems3 [to]4 all my Acquaintance, but especially to those, whose Approbation5 wou’d contribute most to recommend them [to] the World. They are, indeed, many of them very elegant, and wou’d have deserv’d much Esteem, had [t]hey come from a Man plac’d in the most favorable Circumstances. What a Prodigy are they, when considerd as the Production of a man, so cruelly dealt with, both by Nature [and] Fortune? When you add to this, that the Author is a Man of the best Dispositions, that I have ever known, and tho’ of great Frugality, is plac’d in the most cruel Indigence, you will certainly think his Case more deserving of Pity and Regard than any you have almost met with. Mr Foulis6 has Copies to dispose of, which I have sent him; and which he will disperse without expecting any Profit. I must entreat you, not only to take a Copy yourself, but also to take a few more and [dis]pose of among your Acquaintance. I trust at least to have half a dozen disposd of by your [me]ans. I have sold off about fifty in a few days. The Price is three Shillings. That you may [rec]ommend them with a safer Conscience, please read the Ode to a young Gentleman going to the Coast of Guinea, that on Refinements in metaphysical Philosophy, that to a Lady on the Death of her Son; the Wish, an Elegy; the Soliloquy. I am much mistaken, if you do not find all these [v]ery laudable Performances; and such as wou’d be esteem’d an Ornament to Dodesley’s Miscellanies [o]r even to better Collections.7
We expected to have seen you in Town about this time; but have been dissappointed. I am [v]ery glad your Health has been so well confirmd this Winter, as I hear it has been. My Compliments to Mr and Mrs Betham.8 If that Lady can be engag’d to have an Esteem of Mr Blacklock’s Productions, she wou’d be of great Service in dispersing them. Tho born blin[d], he is not insensible to that Passion, which we foolish People are apt to receive first by th[e] Eyes; and unless a man were both blind and deaf, I do not know how he cou’d be altogether secure of Impressions from Mrs Betham. I am Dear Sir
[1 ]No addressee: Klibansky and Mossner conjecture Adam Smith in view of Letters 13 and 19 from Hume, dated 26 May 1753 and 17 Dec. 1754.
[2 ]Thomas Blacklock (1721–91), poet, schoolmaster, clergyman; son of a bricklayer in Annan, Dumfriesshire; blinded by smallpox at six months; sent to an Edinburgh grammar school when twenty to learn Latin, and then to the University to study Greek and Divinity; ordained, 1762; Minister of Kirkcudbright, 1762–4; D.D. from Marischal College, Aberdeen, 1767; broke with David Hume in that year and accepted patronage from James Beattie; befriended Robert Burns and Walter Scott in his last years, his praise preventing Burns from emigrating to the West Indies in 1786.
[3 ]Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1754); other editions appeared in 1746, 1756, 1793 (posthumous, ed. by Henry Mackenzie). Blacklock was hailed as the Scottish Pindar.
[4 ]The left edge of the MS. first sheet is torn.
[5 ]Among the other recipients of Hume’s circular letter were John Clephane, Robert Dodsley, the Abbé Le Blanc, John Stewart, John Wilkes, and Joseph Spence.
[6 ]Andrew (1712–75) or Robert Foulis (1707–76), booksellers and printers to Glasgow University. Robert started business as a bookseller in 1739, as publisher in 1741, and printer in 1742, joined by Andrew in 1746. Their books were famous for beauty and accuracy, the typefaces being designed by Alexander Wilson, e.g. the editions of Homer (1756–8) and Milton (1770). Robert founded an Academy of the Fine Arts in 1754 which trained David Allan and James Tassie.
[7 ]Robert Dodsley (1703–64), poet, dramatist, bookseller; well known for collections of old plays and contemporary poetry.
[8 ]The Bethams were Glasgow friends of Smith. Robert Betham was an original member of the Glasgow Literary Society (HL i. 213).