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138.: From ADAM FERGUSON - 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 ADAM FERGUSON
Small 614 n.
Edinburgh, 2 Sept. 1773
My Dear Sir,
I am told that Dr Beaty,1 or his party, give out that he has not only refuted but killed D. Hume. I should be very glad of the first, but sorry for the other; and I have the pleasure to inform you that he is in perfect good health; if he had been otherwise I should have certainly mentioned it in some of my letters. He had a cough, and lost flesh, soon after you went from home,2 which we did not know what to think of, but it turned out a mere cold, and it went off without leaving any ill effects; he has still some less flesh than usual, which nobody regrets, but in point of health and spirits I never saw him better. You seemed to doubt whether I should not write to Lord Stanhope.3 I had inclination enough, but was not so decided as to send my letter to himself without putting it in your power to withhold it if proper, and therefore I stayed for a frank; what is disagreeable is, laying him under the obligation to make a ceremonious answer, and, if he be gone, subjecting him to Continental postage, so you will judge. I have not seen J. Ferguson,4 but he must acquiesce.
I am, dear Sir, most affectionately yours,
[1 ]James Beattie (1735–1823), poet and Professor of Moral Philosophy, Marischal College, Aberdeen (from 1760); abused Hume in An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth; in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism (1st edn. 1770). In 1773 Beattie was much taken up in London by the Johnson circle and given a pension by George III. In an ‘Advertisment’ to the first posthumous edition of his Essays and Treatises (1777), Hume gave ‘a compleat Answer to Dr Reid and to that bigotted silly Fellow, Beattie’ (HL ii. 301) by disowning the ‘juvenile’ Treatise of Human Nature and asking that his later works be regarded ‘as containing his philosophical sentiments and principles’.
[2 ]Smith went to London in May 1773 and remained there until April 1776, about a month after publication of WN.
[3 ]Philip, 2nd Earl Stanhope (1717–86), mathematician; friend of Smith since his stay in Geneva; had consulted Smith about the education of his ward, Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield (1755–1815). Adam Ferguson was recommended as tutor.
[4 ]? Relative of Adam Ferguson who was to travel with him to London in 1774: see Letter 141.