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22.: 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. 245–6.
I have got down a few Copies of my Dissertations2 lately publish’d at London; and shall send you one by the first Glasgow Waggon. I beg of you to do me the Favor of accepting this Trifle. You have read all the Dissertations in Manuscript; but you will find that on the natural History of Religion somewhat amended in point of Prudence. I do not apprehend, that it will much encrease the Clamour against me.3
The Dedication to John Hume you have probably seen:4 For I find it has been inserted in some of the weekly Papers, both here and in London. Some of my Friends thought it was indiscreet in me to make myself responsible to the Public for the Productions of another: But the Author had lain under such singular and unaccountable Obstructions in his Road to Fame; that I thought it incumbent on his Wellwishers to go as much out of the common Road to assist him. I believe the Composition of the Dedication will be esteemd very prudent; and not inelegant.
I can now give you the Satisfaction of hearing, that the Play, tho’ not near so well acted in Covent Garden as in this Place,5 is likely to be very successful: Its great intrinsic Merit breaks thro all Obstacles. When it shall be printed (which will be soon) I am perswaded it will be esteem’d the best; and by French Critics, the only Tragedy of our Language. This Encouragement will, no doubt, engage the Author to go on in the same Carrier. He meets with great Countenance in London: And I hope will soon be render’d independant in his Fortune.
Did you ever hear of such Madness and Folly as our Clergy have lately fallen into? For my Part, I expect that the next Assembly will very solemnly pronounce the Sentence of Excommunication6 against me: But I do not apprehend it to be a Matter of any Consequence. What do you think?
I am somewhat idle at present; and somewhat undetermin’d as to my next Undertaking. Shall I go backwards or forwards in my History? I think you us’d to tell me, that you approvd more of my going backwards. The other would be the more popular Subject; but I am afraid, that I shall not find Materials sufficient to ascertain the Truth; at least, without settling in London: Which I own, I have some Reluctance to. I am settled here very much to my Mind; and wou’d not wish, at my Years, to change the Place of my abode.
I have just now receivd a copy of Douglas from London: It will instantly be put in the Press. I hope to be able to send you a Copy in the same Parcel [with the Dissertations].7
I am Dear Sir [ ]
Pray why did we not see you this Winter? We shall excuse you for no other Reason but because we hope you were busy. But you must not only have Industry: You must also have Perseverance.
[1 ]MS. torn, but the date is suggested by the reference to the London production of Douglas.
[2 ]Four Dissertations, viz. ‘The National History of Religion’, ‘Of the Passions’, ‘Of Tragedy’, ‘Of the Standard of Taste’, published 7 Feb. 1757.
[3 ]By William Warburton and others (Mossner, Life of Hume, 321–6). For changes in the text of ‘The Natural History of Religion’, see Mossner 619: phrases are altered that might have led to a charge of blasphemy.
[4 ]The dedication was published separately. It was addressed to ‘The Reverend Mr Home, Author of Douglas, a Tragedy’. John Home (1722–1808), educ. at Leith and Edinburgh University; Minister of Athelstaneford 1746–57; dramatist: Douglas (1757), Agis (1758), Siege of Aquileia (1769), The Fatal Discovery (1769), Alonzo (1773), Alfred (1778); private secretary to Lord Bute and tutor to the Prince of Wales, later George III, from whom he received a pension; settled at Edinburgh, 1779. Home published a History of the Rebellion of 1745 (1802) in part based on his own experiences, including capture by the Highlanders at Falkirk in 1746.
[5 ]Produced at Edinburgh by West Digges, 14 Dec. 1756, and by Rich at Covent Garden, 14 Mar. 1757, with Peg Woffington as Lady Randolph.
[6 ]Threatened against Hume in 1756. The object of attack by the Highflyers in 1757 was Hume’s great friend the Revd. Alexander Carlyle.
[7 ]MS. torn.