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69.: To GEORGE BAIRD - 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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To GEORGE BAIRD1
MS., University of Illinois Libr., Rae 159–60.
Glasgow, 7 Feb. 1763
I have read over the contents of your friends work with very great pleasure, and heartily wish it was in my power to give or to procure him all the encouragement which his ingenuity and industry deserve. I think myself greatly obliged to him for the very obliging notice he has been pleased to take of me, and should be glad to contribute any thing in my power towards compleating his design. I approve greatly of his plan for a Rational Grammar and am convinced that a work of this kind executed with his abilities and industry, may prove not only the best System of Grammar, but the best System of Logic in any Language, as well as the best History of the natural progress of the Human mind in forming the most important abstractions upon which all reasoning depends. From the short abstract which Mr Ward2 has been so good as to send me, it is impossible for me to form any very decisive judgement concerning the propriety of every part of his method, particularly of some of his divisions. If I was to treat the same subject I should endeavour to begin with the consideration of Verbs; these being, in my apprehension, the original parts of speech, first invented to express in one word a compleat event; I should then have endeavoured to shew how the Subject was divided first from the Attribute; and afterwards, how the object was distinguished from both, and in this Manner I should have tried to investigate the origin and use of all the different parts of speech and of all their different modifications, considered as necessary to express all the different qualifications and relations of any single event.3 Mr Ward, however, may have excellent reasons for following his own method, and perhaps if I was engaged in the same task I should find it necessary to follow the same; things frequently appearing in a very different light when taken in a general view, which is the only view that I can pretend to have taken of them, and when considered in detail.
Mr Ward, when he mentions the definitions which different Authors have given of Nouns Substantive takes no notice of that of the Abbé Girard the Author of a Book called Les vrais principes de la Langue Françoise which made me think it might be possible that he had not seen it.4 It is the book which first set me a thinking upon these subjects and I have received more instruction from it than from any other I have yet seen upon them. If Mr Ward has not seen it, I have it at his Service. The Grammatical Articles too in the French Encyclopedie have given me a good deal of entertainment. Very probably Mr Ward has seen both these works and as he may have considered the subject more than I have done, may think less of them.
Remember me to Mrs Baird and Mr Oswald5 and believe me to be with great truth
Dear Sir Sincerely yours
[1 ]Owned property at Bo’ness, Linlithgowshire; fa. of Principal George Baird of Edinburgh University (1761–1840).
[2 ]William Ward of Broughton, Master of the Grammar School at Beverley, Yorks., wrote An Essay on Grammar, as it may be applied to the English language. In two treatises. The one speculative . . . The other practical (London, 1765).
[3 ]For Smith’s views on language, see his criticism of Johnson’s Dictionary in the Edinburgh Review of 1755, and ‘Considerations concerning the First Formation of Languages’, The Philological Miscellany, i (1761), 440–79, also printed in TMS ed. 3, 1767.
[4 ]Abbé Gabriel Girard, Les Vrais Principes de la langue françoise, ou la parole réduite en methode conformément aux lois d’usage, 2 t. (Paris, 1747); see Bonar 75.
[5 ]George Oswald (1735–1819) of Scotstoun and Auchincruive, tobacco merchant in Glasgow.