Front Page Titles (by Subject) 115.: To LORD HAILES - 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:
115.: To LORD HAILES - 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.
To LORD HAILES1
MS., Keio University Libr., Japan; Sotheby’s Catalogue 21 May 1968, 65 (extract).
Kirkcaldy, 15 Jan. 1769
I am extremely obliged to your Lordship for the very polite Message you was [so] good as to send me last week by Mr John Balfour. The Use of your Lordships collection of Papers concerning the Prices of Corn and other Provisions in Antient times will lay me under a very great obligation.2 I have no papers upon this subject except an account of the fiars3 of Mid–Lothian from the [year] 1626 and this was copied too from a Printed Paper produced in a process before the Court of Session some years ago. I expect soon to get some others, particularly an account from the Victualling office.4 I have, however, a good number of printed Books such as Fleetwood,5 Du Pré de St Maur,6 Police des Grains,7 Messance sur la Population et sur les prix des grains,8 Essays on the Corn Trade,9 &c; All of which, except Messance, your Lordship has probably seen: His accounts go no further back than 1670. I look upon him, however, to be the most judicious author of them all. I have made a good number of remarks both upon the accounts given in these books, and upon some things relating to the same subject which I have found in the History of the Exchequer,10 in the English Acts of Parliament,11 and in the Ordonnances of the french Kings.11 My own Papers12 are in very great disorder and I wait for some further informations which I expect from different quarters before I attempt to give them the last Arrangement. As soon as they are fit to be seen I shall be very happy to communicate them to your Lordship, if you will give me leave either to send them to you or to read them to you.
I am very much ashamed of having delayed so long to answer a very Polite letter13 I had the honour to receive from your Lordship some time ago. I proposed to read over the Scotch Acts14 and to compare them both with our own historians and with the laws of some other nations that I have had occasion to look into, in order to answer it as much to your satisfaction as I could. I have not yet had time to do this; for tho’ in my present situation I have properly speaking nothing to do, my own schemes of Study leave me very little leisure, which go forward too like the web of penelope, so that I scarce see any Probability of their ending. Your Lordships remarks upon the Scotch Acts seem to be very much of the same nature with those of Judge Barrington15 upon the English Statutes which have been so very universally approved of. A work of this kind cannot fail to [be] both extremely useful and very amusing to all those that are curious in the History of their own country. I should be very happy to contribute any thing in my Power to the improvement of it. I am afraid however I shall be able to contribute but very little; and it will be some time before I can contribute even that little.16 I have the honour to be with highest respect and esteem
My Lord your Lordships Most Obedient Servant
If your Lordship wishes to see any of the Books I have on the Prices of Provisions they are all at your service, as are likewise any Papers upon the same subject which I may hereafter be able to collect.
[1 ]Sir David Dalrymple (1726–92), Bt., of Hailes; lawyer, antiquary, and man of letters; educ. Eton, Edinburgh, and Utrecht; advocate 1748; Lord of Session (as Lord Hailes) 1766; Lord Commissioner of Justiciary 1776.
[2 ]See the accompaniment to Hailes’s letter to Smith of 6 Mar. 1769, No. 114.
[3 ]Smith defined ‘fiars’ as ‘annual valuations made upon oath, according to the actual state of the markets, of all the different sorts of grain in every different county of Scotland’ (WN I.viii. 34and I.xi. c. 17).
[4 ]Port office for victualling ships of the Royal Navy.
[5 ]William Fleetwood, Bishop of Ely, Chronicum Preciosum (London, 1707). This and the following books were in Smith’s library (see Bonar’s catalogue) and are referred to in WN.
[6 ]N.–F. Dupré de St. Maur, Essai sur les monnoies, ou réflexions sur la rapport entre l’argent et les denrées (Paris, 1746); Recherches sur la valeur des monnoies et sur les prix des grains avant et après le concile de Francfort en 794 (Paris, 1762).
[7 ]C. J. Herbert, Essai sur la police générale des grains, sur leur prix et sur les effets de l’agriculture (Berlin, 1757).
[8 ]Recherches sur la population des généralités d’Auvergne, de Lyon, de Rouen, et de quelques provinces et villes du royaume, avec des reflexions sur la valeur du bled tant en France qu’en Angleterre, depuis 1674 jusqu’en 1764, par M. Messance, receveur des tailles de l’élection de Saint–Etienne (Paris, 1766).
[9 ]Charles Smith, Three Tracts on the Corn Trade and Corn Laws, 2nd ed. (London, 1766).
[10 ]Thomas Madox, History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England. From the Norman Conquest to Edward II (London, 1711); referred to in WN III.iii.3.
[11 ]It is not known which editions of these Smith consulted.
[12 ]? Of parts of WN.
[13 ]Not traced.
[14 ]Smith had a copy of The Actis and Constitutionis of the Realme of Scotland, 1424–1564 (Edinburgh, 1566), commonly known as ‘the Black Acts’. This copy is now in the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
[15 ]Hon. Daines Barrington, Recorder of Bristol and Justice of Chester, Observations on the Statutes chiefly from Magna Carta to the twenty–first of James the First, chap. XXVII (London, 1766). This book is not listed in Bonar’s catalogue of Smith’s library. Barrington had two excellent ideas: he used the statue book to illustrate English history, and he adopted a comparative approach when explaining the meaning of the earlier statutes (Holdsworth, History of English Law, London, 1966 reprint, xii. 401).
[16 ]Though Hailes circulated in printed form a specimen of his observations on the Scots Acts, he did not get the help he expected, and his scheme came to nothing (Woodhouselee, Kames, 1807, i. 290).