Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Text and Apparatus - Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 2a An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1
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The Text and Apparatus - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 2a An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1 
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. I ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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The Text and Apparatus
Since WN is a work of some magnitude and complexity, yet one inadequately described in the standard bibliographical references, it may be appropriate to define the various editions examined,1 to indicate the circumstances of printing and issue,2 and then to specify the relation of each edition to the present text.
1] 4° 1st edition. Published 9 March 1776 at £1.16.0 in blue–grey or marbled boards.
Vol. i: A4 a2 B–L4 M4(± M3) N–P4 Q4(± Q1) R–T4 U4(± U3) X–2Y4 2Z4(± 2Z3) 3A4(± 3A4) 3B–3N4 3O4(± 3O4) 3P–3T4. Pp. i title, ii advt for TMS 4th edn., iii–xi contents, xii blank. 12–510 text, 511–512 blank. Vol. ii: A2 B–C4 D4(± D1) E–3Y4 3Z4 (± 3Z4) 4A4 4B4 (– 4B1.2 + 4B1.2) 4C4(± 4C2.3) 4D–4E4 4F2. Pp. i half–title, iii title, iv errata, 12–587 text, 588 advts. The substitute leaves, six in the first volume and six in the second, have been noted only in their cancelled state.3
The original edition, the first title of which serves as a frontispiece to this volume, properly serves as copy–text: the printing closest to original manuscript and thus ordinarily preserving in its ‘accidentals’, or spelling and punctuation, the author’s several idiosyncracies. Nonetheless, since the edition was printed not directly from the author’s original script but, apparently like all his work, from a copy prepared by an amanuensis,4 some of its peculiarities may be attributed to another hand and therefore discounted whenever the third edition, closely attended by the author, offers a less ambiguous reading.
2] 4° 2d edition. Published 28 February 1778 at £1.16.0 in boards.
Vol. i: A–G4 H4(± H4) I–2D4 2E4(± 2E2.3) 2F–2L4 2M4(± 2M2.3) 2N–3S4 3T4(– 3T4). Pp. i title, iii–vii contents, viii advt for TMS 4th edn. and errata, 12–510 text. Vol. ii: A4 B–4E4 4F4(– F4). Pp. i half–title, iii title, v–viii contents, 12–589 text, 590 blank. In Volume i the Texas copy still contains original leaf H4, first of the five cancelled in other specimens, but this is invariant from the cancellans.5
Strahan printing ledger: (Nov. 1777) 141½ sheets, 500 copies, @ 16s. = £113.4.0. Extra Corrections £4. This printing was done, it will be observed, three months before issue.
The second edition exhibits a number of alterations large and small, some providing new information, some correcting matters of fact, some perfecting the idiom, and a large number now documenting references in footnotes. All these substantive changes are incorporated in the text excepting only those further amended in the third edition.
2A] 4° ‘Additions and Corrections.’ Published 20 November 1784 at 2s. in blue–grey boards, ‘to accommodate the purchasers of the former editions’.
Issue: B–L4. Pp. 12–79 text, 80 blank.
Strahan ledger: (Oct. 1784) 10 sheets, 500 copies, @ 16s. = £8.
As the collation would indicate, this is a very considerable supplement, representing in thirteen sections some 24,000 words. The ‘Additions’ were undertaken several years before when Smith first proposed a separate printing and his publisher, Thomas Cadell, agreed subject to a proviso—which could hardly be enforced—that the issue be sold only to those who had purchased the earlier editions.6 Though many ‘Corrections’ doubtless were then and thereafter also entered in Smith’s copy of the Second Edition, and from the caption title would appear to be conveyed as well in this separate issue, a goodly number of lesser consequence could be accommodated expediently only in the edition next described.
3] 8° 3d edition. Published simultaneously with 2A 20 November 1784 at 18s. in boards or one guinea bound.
Vol. i: A4 B–2I8 2K2. Pp. i title, iii Advertisement, iv errata, v vi–viii contents, 12–499 text, 500 blank. Vol. ii: π2 a2 B–2K8 2L6. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–vi contents, 12–518 text, 519–523 Appendix, 524 blank. Vol. iii: π2 a2 B–2K8 2L2. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–v contents, vi blank, 12–465 text, 466 blank, 467–515 index, 516 advt for TMS, 4th edn.7
Strahan ledger: (Oct. 1784) 97½ sheets, 1000 copies, @ £1.7.0 = £131.12.6. Extra for Index £3.5.0. Tables and Corrections £4.19.0.
In view of the author’s later statement (see section 4 below) this issue must be accepted as representing his final version, one which incorporates with some further amendments all the additions issued in 2A, further revises the text and, most significantly, supplies a lengthy index.8 Moreover, as there is clear evidence that it was read several times in proof, with close attention to the pointing,9 the third edition can be regarded as supervening even the first in many of its formal aspects, and thus now serves as printers’ copy.
4] 8° 4th edition. Published 6 November 1786 at 18s. in boards.
Vol. i: A4 B–2I8 2K2. Pp. i title, iii Advt to 3d Ed., iv Advt to 4th Ed., v vi–viii contents, 12–499 text, 500 errata. Vol. ii: π2 a2 B–2K8 2L6. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–vi contents, 12–518 text, 519–523 Appendix, 524 errata. Vol. iii: A4 B–2K8 2L2. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–v contents, vi errata, 12–465 text, 466 blank, 467–515 index, 516 advt for TMS, 4th edn.10
Strahan ledger: (Oct. 1786) 98 sheets, 1250 copies, @ £1.11.0 = £151.18.0. Extra for Tables and Index £4.2.0.
If we accept Smith’s own assurance, in the new ‘Advertisement’, that there are indeed ‘no alterations of any kind’ in this edition, then the ‘few trifling alterations’ which Cannan here observed, and accepted in his own text, may be dismissed along with the others which he rightly perceived to be ‘misreadings or unauthorized corrections of the printers’.11 That there are no fewer than fourteen errata noted, some in each of the three volumes, attests however to the printer’s continuing concern, a concern evidenced as late as the posthumous seventh edition of 1793, where F2 in the first volume is a cancel.
5] 8° 5th edition. Published 1789, possibly also, as for 4, at 18s. in boards.
Vol. i: A6 B–2I8 2K2. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii–iv advt to 3d Edn., v–vi Advt to 4th Ed., vii viii–x contents, 12–499 text, 500 blank. Vol. ii: π2 a2 B–2K8 2L6. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–vi contents, 12–518 text, 519–523 Appendix, 524 blank. Vol. iii: A4 B–2K8 2L2. Pp. 1–2 blank, i title, iii iv–v contents, vi blank, 12–465 text, 466 blank, 467–515 index, 516 advt for TMS 4th edn.12
Strahan ledger: (Feb. 1789) 98 sheets, 1500 copies, @ £1.14.0 = £166.12.0. Extra for Tables and Index £4.6.0.
From this edition the present text adopts one obvious correction only, the reading ‘Hope’ in the ‘Advertisement to the Fourth Edition’, but ordinarily, as with the Fourth, refuses any admittance to numerous adjustments (as well as many misprints) now again representing, apparently, only the work of the printer. It is certainly illogical to follow this text, as does Cannan, simply because it is ‘the last published in Smith’s Lifetime’.13
6] 8° 6th edition. Published 1791, possibly also, as for 4, at 18s. in boards.
Description as for 5, except that final advt. is now for TMS 6th edn.14 Strahan ledger: (Dec. 1791) 98 sheets, 2000 copies, @ £2 = £196. Extra for Tables and Index £4.6.0.
Like the two preceding, this the first posthumous edition has been collated, and its variants also recorded below the text, as a matter of historical record. The account extends thus far to meet, and in this case to dismiss, any possibility that the author left some final revisions incorporated in the work only after his death.15
Once the order and validity of readings was assessed, according to the rationale set out above, the preparation of this text then followed a set procedure. First at Texas the two available specimens of 1 (the copy–text) were read against all the later editions, including a photocopy of British Library 2A, and every variant entered in a photocopy of Texas 3 (printer’s copy), the substantive readings in one column, the accidentals in a second, and end–line hyphenations in a third. This record was then verified against the copies at Glasgow and printer’s copy marked for the press. Thereafter the proofs were read independently by all three editors against 3, any discrepancies again resolved at Glasgow, and revised proofs thereafter checked against the final record. As now prepared this edition contains a number of features all described below.
For the text proper the paragraphs within each section or part have been numbered both to facilitate cross reference in the annotations and to simplify later citation from this edition.16 Within the text stars and daggers are the author’s own devices for pointing a note, superscript figures the numbers entered by the present editors to signal their further commentary. Superscript letters, denoting substantive textual variants, are of two orders, e.g.:
Differences in spelling (ancient/antient, public/publick, &c) remain unaltered as representative of the variable orthography Smith himself continually allowed on the several occasions he revised his work. In general all accidentals, if necessarily introduced from some edition other than 3, or in a few instances by the present editors, are listed in Schedule A; accidentals not admitted, along with misprinted substantives, are recorded in B; line–end hyphenation is registered in C. At the beginning of each original page in 3 the number of that page is entered in brackets.
Below the text page, as now printed, three kinds of data may appear. First are Smith’s own references (together with appropriate indicators if these originally occur in some edition after the first or if they are later amended) followed immediately, within square brackets, by any extension of the reference the present editors consider necessary. Second are the substantive textual variants, all entered in a manner indicating the kind or extent of variation:
Thirdly, below text page, as signalled by superscript numerals in the text, come the editors’ own commentary. These number references are sequential only through each part.
Following the work, and the several editorial schedules, there are three indexes, each of which bears its own heading as to purpose and utility.
As an essential part of their own editorial work, the text and its variants have also been checked and scrutinized by the General Editors.
[1 ]Altogether the survey has extended to forty–nine copies in seven institutions: British Library, editions 1–5 and separate issue 2A; Bodleian Library, 1, 3, 4, 6; University of Glasgow 1(3 copies), 2, 2A, 4(3), 5(2); National Library of Australia, 1, 2, 2A(bound in 2), 3 (2), 4, 6(2); New York Public Library, 1(5), 2, 2A(bound in 1), 3, 4, 6; Princeton University 1(3), 2A; University of Texas at Austin, 1(2), 2–6. Duplicate copies in each library were compared against each other and the unique register of press figures for every volume checked against every other comparable volume. The figures, as cited in subsequent notes, occasionally show some displacements or other disorders in press–work, but in no copy, as later inspection confirms, is there any textual variation within the edition.
[2 ]Issue date, for immediate reference listed first, is taken throughout from the London Chronicle, a journal which also carries preliminary advts. certifying the date: for first edition in the number 5–7 March 1776; for the third, 6–9 November 1784; for the fourth, 26–28 October 1786. The original preliminary notice wrongly gives the first–edition price as £2.2.0, a figure corrected on the date of publication. Rae (324), also cites the correct price but then curiously inflates the cost for the second to £2.2.0, though it still remains, as for the first, £1.16.0.
[3 ]In several copies of volume ii there is no press figure p. 351 and, in all, p. 469 is figured either 6 or 8. Apparently (as noted in the Times Literary Supplement, 20 July 1940, 356) a few copies also exist with cancel titles having imprint extended to include W. Creech at Edinburgh.
[4 ]As early as 1755 Smith refers to his Edinburgh lectures as ‘written in the hand of a clerk who left my service six years ago’ (Stewart IV.26) and his difficulty in writing a compact script doubtless led him to employ other clerks, one of whom, Alexander Gillies, has been identified as the amanuensis for WN. W. R. Scott, Adam Smith as Student and Professor, (Glasgow, 1937), 359–60.
[5 ]In several copies no figure appears, in volume i, at pp. 124, 386, 389, or 390 and none in ii at p. 24. Additionally in ii the figures for Texas copy gathering 4A (pp. 545–52) reveal this to be a stray sheet held over from the printing of the first edition.
[6 ]See Letter 222 addressed to Cadell dated 7 December 1782, and Cadell’s answer, Letter 223, 12 December 1782.
[7 ]Volume ii page 422 is figured either 3 or 6.
[8 ]This may not have been by Smith (Cannan, xvi), but quite probably was done under his direction either by amanuensis Gillies or by someone else familiar with Scottish banking practices. In the New York Public Library copy index gathering 2K, as the figures indicate, has been greatly disordered in the original imposition.
[9 ]Letter 227 addressed to William Strahan, dated 22 May 1783, and Letter 237, 10 June 1784.
[10 ]In several copies no figure appears, in volume ii, at pp. 431 and 490.
[11 ]Cannan, xvii. It may also be noted that, beginning with this edition, Strahan does not charge for any author’s corrections.
[12 ]In a few copies, volume iii, no figure appears at pp. 137, 260 and, in all, p. 408 is figured 7 or 10.
[13 ]Cannan, xvii.
[14 ]Again in a few copies of volume iii, no figure appears at p. 32 and, in all, p. 287 is figured 7 or 9, p. 315 figured 6 or 7. Additionally in volume ii, gathering 2D, there are three figures, a circumstance which (when two is the maximum) is most extraordinary.
[15 ]The fourth, revised edition of Samuel Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison (1762), it will be recalled, began to appear seven months after his death, and yet another edition, differently revised, was issued as late as 1810. See R. C. Pierson’s commentary in Studies in Bibliography, xxi (1968), 163–89.
[16 ]To accomplish this numbering in an orderly manner some few adjustments have been made (all with due notice) in Smith’s own keys to the arrangement of his sections and subsections.