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19.: 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., RSE ii. 26; HL i. 212–13.
Edinburgh, 17 Dec. 1754
I told you, that I intended to apply to the Faculty for Redress; and if refusd, to throw up the Library. I was assur’d that two of the Curators1 intended before the Faculty to declare their Willingness to redress me, after which there cou’d be no Difficulty to gain a Victory over the other two. But before the day came, the Dean2 prevaild on them to change their Resolution, and joind them himself with all his Interest. I saw it then impossible to succeed, and accordingly retracted my Application: But being equally unwilling to lose the Use of the Books and to bear an Indignity; I retain the Office, but have given Blacklock, our blind Poet, a Bond of Annuity for the Sallary. I have now put it out of these malicious Fellows power to offer me any Indignity; while my Motives for remaining in this Office are so apparent. I shou’d be glad that you approve of my Conduct: I own I am satisfy’d with myself.
Pray tell me, and tell me ingenuously, What Success has my History met with among the Judges with you, I mean Dr Cullen, Mr Betham,3 Mrs Betham, Mr Leechman, Mr Muirhead,4 Mr Crawford,5 etc? Dare I presume, that it has been found worthy of Examination, and that its Beauties are found to overballance its Defects? I am very desirous to know my Errors, and I dare swear you think me tolerably docile, to be so veterane an Author. I cannot indeed hope soon to have an Opportunity of correcting my Errors; this Impression is so very numerous.6 The Sale indeed has been very great in Edinburgh; but how it goes on at London, we have not been precisely inform’d.7 In all Cases, I am desirous of storing up Instruction, and as you are now idle (I mean, have nothing but your Class to teach: Which to you is comparative Idleness) I will insist upon hearing from you.8
Pray tell Mr Crawford, that I sent a Copy to Lord Cathcart,9 as he desird.
I am Dear Sir Yours sincerely
[1 ]On 4 Apr. 1754 Hume, as Keeper of the Advocates’ Library, bought a number of books, among them the Contes of La Fontaine, L’Écumoire by Crébillon fils, and L’histoire amoureuse des Gaules by Roger de Rabutin, comte de Bussy (generally known as Bussy–Rabutin). When the Curators made their general inspection in June, some of them objected to these three books as indecent, and after long deliberation they ordered them to be removed from the shelves (NLS, MS. Register of the Curators and Keeper). At the same time, they ordained that no more books should be bought for the Library on the authority of the Keeper alone (Draft minute in Hume’s handwriting, Hume MSS., RSE) Hume wanted the books re–instated (HL i. 211) and believed two of the Curators, Peter Wedderburn, later Lord Chesterhall, and Thomas Miller of Glenlee (1717–89), were favourably disposed towards him. The other two were James Burnet (later Lord Monboddo) and Sir David Dalrymple (later Lord Hailes).
[2 ]Robert Dundas of Arniston the Younger (1713–87), educ. Edinburgh and Utrecht; Solicitor–Gen. 1742–6; Dean of the Faculty, 1746; Lord Advocate, 1754; M.P. 1756–60; Lord President of the Court of Session 1760–d.
[3 ]See Letter 14, n. 8.
[4 ]George Muirhead (1715–73), Professor of Oriental Languages, Glasgow, 1753; of Humanity, 1754–73. With James Moore he supervised the edition of Homer printed by the Foulis brothers in 1747.
[5 ]Probably Patrick Crawford of Auchenames (d. 1778), elder bro. of Ronald Crawford, WS, and father of John (‘Fish’) Crawford, both of whom were friends of Hume. Patrick Crawford was M.P. for Renfrewshire in 1761, having previously been M.P. for Ayrshire in 1741 and 1747.
[6 ]2,000 copies (Mossner, Life of Hume, Austin, 1954, 303).
[7 ]In Edinburgh about 450 ‘in five weeks’, Hume to the Earl of Balcarres (HL i. 214, 17 Dec. 1754); in London—‘Mr Millar told me, that in a twelve–month he sold only forty five Copies’ (Hume, My Own Life).
[8 ]No communication from Smith to Hume about his History seems to have survived, but Smith studied the work carefully and described Hume as ‘by far the most illustrious philosopher and historian of the present age’ (WN V.i.g.3).
[9 ]Charles, 9th Baron Cathcart (1721–76), A.D.C. to Duke of Cumberland at Fontenoy; Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, 1755–63 and 1773–6; Ambassador at St. Petersburg, 1768–71.