Front Page Titles (by Subject) 25.: From DAVID HUME - Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith
Return to Title Page for Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 6 Correspondence of Adam Smith
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
25.: 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith and the associated volumes are published in hardcover by Oxford University Press. The six titles of the Glasgow Edition, but not the associated volumes, are being published in softcover by Liberty Fund. The online edition is published by Liberty Fund under license from Oxford University Press.
©Oxford University Press 1976. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be stored transmitted retransmitted lent or reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of Oxford University Press.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
From DAVID HUME
MS., RSE ii. 29; HL i. 279–80.
8 June 1758
I sit down to write to you along with Johnstone,1 and as we have been talking over the Matter, it is probable we shall employ the same Arguments. As he is the younger Lawyer, I leave him to open the Case; and suppose that you have read his Letter first. We are certain, that the Settlement of you here and of Ferguson2 at Glasgow3 would be perfectly easy by Lord Miltons Interest. The Prospect of prevailing with Abercrombie4 is also very good: For the same Statesman, by his Influence over the Town Council, cou’d oblige him5 either to attend, which he never woud do, or dispose of the Office for the Money which he gave for it. The only real Difficulty is then with you. Pray then consider, that this is perhaps the only Opportunity we shall ever have of getting you to Town: I dare swear, that you think the Difference of Place is worth paying something for; and yet it will really cost you nothing. You made above 100 Pound a Year by your Class when in this Place, tho’ you had not the Character of Professor: We cannot suppose that it will be less than 130 after you are settled. John Stevenson;6 and it is John Stevenson, makes near 150; as we were inform’d upon Enquiry. Here is 100 Pounds a Year for 8 Years Purchase; which is a cheap Purchase, even considerd as the way of a Bargain. We flatter ourselves that you rate our Company as something; and the Prospect of settling Ferguson will be an additional Inducement. For tho’ we think of making him take up the Project if you refuse it, yet it is uncertain whether he will consent; and it is attended in his Case with many very obvious Objections.7 I beseech you therefore to weigh all these Motives over again; The alteration of these Circumstances merit that you shoud put the matter again in Deliberation.8 I had a Letter from Miss Hepburn,9 where she regrets very much, that you are settled at Glasgow, and that we had the Chance of seeing you so seldom. I am
Dear Smith Yours sincerely
Lord Milton can with his Finger, stop the foul Mouths of all the Roarers against Heresy.
[1 ]William Johnstone: see Letter 11, n. 2.
[2 ]Adam Ferguson.
[3 ]In Smith’s Chair of Moral Philosophy.
[4 ]George Abercromby of Tullibody (d. 1800), fa. of Gen. Ralph Abercromby; Professor of the Law of Nature and Nations at Edinburgh since 1735. This Chair was worth £300 at times, but was usually treated as a sinecure. Hume and Johnstone wanted Smith to buy Abercromby out.
[6 ]Professor of Logic in Edinburgh, 1730–74. Stevenson replaced Aristotle with Locke in his course, and his lectures on Rhetoric and Literary Criticism made a deep impression on his students.
[7 ]Ferguson had no training in law.
[8 ]No evidence has come to hand about Smith considering Hume’s proposal, but Abercromby demitted his Chair in this year to Robert Bruce, his son–in–law. Bruce passed it on to the philosopher James Balfour of Pilrig in 1764, and Balfour in his turn gave way to Allan Maconochie in 1779, for the sum of £1,522 18s. 2d.
[9 ]The Miss Hepburns of Keith were good friends of John Home the dramatists, and he is said to have obtained from one of them the idea of Douglas.