Front Page Titles (by Subject) 140.: 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:
140.: 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. 54; HL ii. 285–6.
St. Andrews Square, 13 Feb. 1774
You are in the wrong for never informing me of your Intentions and Resolutions, if you have fix’d any. I am now oblig’d to write to you on a Subject, without knowing whether the Proposal, or rather Hint, which I am to give you, be an Absurdity or not. The Settlement to be made on Ferguson is a very narrow Compensation for his Class, if he must lose it: He wishes to keep it, and to serve by a Deputy in his Absence. But besides that this Scheme will appear invidious and is really scarce admissible, those in the Town Council, who aim at filling the Vacancy with a Friend, will strenuously object to it; and he himself cannot think of one who will make a proper Substitute. I fancy, that the chief Difficulty wou’d be remov’d, if you cou’d offer to supply his Class, either as his Substitute or his Successor, with a Purpose of resigning upon his return. This notion is entirely my own, and shall never be known to Ferguson, if it appear to you improper. I shall only say, that he deserves this friendly Treatment, by his friendly Conduct, of a similar kind, towards poor Russel’s Family.1
Pray, what strange Accounts are these we hear of Franklyn’s Conduct?2 I am very slow in believing that he has been guilty in the extreme Degree that is pretended; tho’ I always knew him to be a very factious man, and Faction, next to Fanaticism, is, of all passions, the most destructive of Morality. How is it suppos’d, he got Possession of these Letters? I hear that Wedderburn’s Treatment of him before the Council, was most cruel, without being in the least blameable. What a Pity!3
[1 ]James Russel (d. 1773), Edinburgh surgeon and Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1764 until his death. Ferguson had become Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1764 as a result of a deal involving Russel (HL i. 438, n. 2). For Ferguson’s account of his negotiations with the Stanhope family, see Letters 138 and 139.
[2 ]On 29 Jan. 1774 Franklin was examined before the Privy Council in the Cockpit, government buildings opposite Whitehall, for transmitting to Boston letters from Governor Hutchinson advocating the use of force against Massachusetts. The examination was pressed in a scurrilous manner by the Solicitor–General, Alexander Wedderburn. It has been claimed that thereafter war with the American colonies became inevitable:
(Quoted in Fay 125.)
[3 ]The letter has no signature, and is perhaps unfinished. The folded sheet containing the letter has neither address nor postmark.