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154.: 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 621; Rae 138 (in part).
Edinburgh, 18 Apr. 1776.
My Dear Sir,
I have been for some time so busy reading you, and recommending and quoting you, to my students, that I have not had leisure to trouble you with letters. I suppose, however, that of all the opinions on which you have any curiosity, mine is among the least doubtful. You may believe, that on further acquaintance with your work my esteem is not a little increased. You are surely to reign alone on these subjects, to form the opinions, and I hope to govern at least the coming generations. I see no addition your work can receive except such little matters as may occur to yourself in subsequent editions. You are not to expect the run of a novel, nor even of a true history; but you may venture to assure your booksellers of a steady and continual sale, as long as people wish for information on these subjects.1 You have provoked, it is true, the church, the universities, and the merchants, against all of whom I am willing to take your part; but you have likewise provoked the militia, and there I must be against you.2 The gentlemen and peasants of this country do not need the authority of philosophers to make them supine and negligent of every resource they might have in themselves, in the case of certain extremities, of which the pressure, God knows, may be at no great distance. But of this more at Philippi. You have heard from Black of our worthy friend D. Hume. If anything in such a case could be agreeable, the easy and pleasant state of his mind and spirits would be really so. I believe he will be prevailed on at least to get in motion, and to try the effect of Bath, or anything else Sir John Pringle may recommend.3 I have said more on this subject to Mr Gibbon who, if you be found at London, will communicate to you. If not, I hope we shall soon meet here. And am, etc.
[1 ]Hume thought WN required ‘too much thought to be as popular as Mr Gibbon’s [History]’ (HL, ii. 314), and Strahan concurred: ‘What you say of Mr Gibbon’s and Dr Smith’s book is exactly just. The former is the more popular work; but the sale of the latter, though not near so rapid, has been more than I could have expected from a work that requires much thought and reflection (qualities that do not much abound among modern readers) to peruse to any purpose’ (12 Apr. 1776, RSE Hume MSS.) Ed. 1 of WN was exhausted in six months.
[2 ]In general, Smith argued a militia would be inferior to a professional standing army, since modern war made demands ill–trained soldiers could not meet, but with a prophetic eye on America he noted a militia long in the field could become the equal of a standing army: WN V.i.a. 23 and 27. Ferguson, was a leader in the campaign to get a Scottish militia: The Proceedings in the Case of Margaret, called Peg, only Sister of John Bull (1761). In 1775, he enthused to Alexander Carlyle about seeing the Swiss militia under arm.
[3 ]This month of April, Sir John Pringle persuaded Hume to come to London for a medical examination and then to try the waters at Bath and Buxton. Hume left Edinburgh on 21 April, meeting Smith and John Home the dramatist two days later at Morpeth. Smith continued on to Kirkcaldy to see his ailing mother, while his companion returned to London with Hume.