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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).
This volume offers an engaging portrait of Smith through more than four hundred letters; also included are appendices with Smith’s thoughts on the “Contest with America” and a collection of letters from Jeremy Bentham.
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.
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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.
In 1965 the senior editor of this volume was invited by the Adam Smith Committee of Glasgow University to write a life of Smith. Professor Mossner saw that an indispensable preliminary was an edition of the correspondence, and he prevailed on the Committee to sponsor this project, also to ask the junior editor to collaborate with him. No complete collection of the correspondence was in print, though John Rae’s Life of Adam Smith (1895, reprinted 1965) and W. R. Scott’s Adam Smith as Student and Professor (1937) presented the letters known to the respective authors. A few other letters had appeared in periodicals. The lack of a collected edition is all the more surprising in that no extensive correspondence is involved. Our tabulation is as follows:
|from Smith (published):||131|
|to Smith (published):||98|
In view of these numbers, we decided to print Smith’s letters and those addressed to him whose contents provided significant information about Smith, or the lives of acquaintances in his career. The remainder of the letters to Smith have been calendared (Nos. 16, 62, 211, 255, 260, 279, and 285). Certain texts were not fully available to us: Letter 220 dated September 1782 (noted in a Caxton Head Catalogue); Letter 231 addressed to William Strahan, dated 6 October 1783 (sold at the Parke–Bernet Galleries, New York, on 22 October 1963); also Letter 257 addressed to Thomas Cadell, dated 14 March 1786 (sold at Sotheby’s on 27 October 1959). It is to be hoped that their owners will make them accessible to the scholarly world, also that the missing letters or some of them, at least, will be found.
To be sure, Adam Smith for the most part was a perfunctory, dilatory correspondent. When addressing him, David Hume could resort to bold remonstrance: ‘I can write as seldom and as short as you’ (Letter 90, January 1766); or, again, ‘I am as Lazy a Correspondent as you; yet my Anxiety about you makes me write’ (Letter 149, 8 February 1776). Another good friend, James Hutton, the vigorous extrovert geologist, affected to see in Smith’s absorption in his studies the characteristics of a Laputan: ‘I send you this flap in the ear to inform you that november is begun and there is little danger of frost till after the new year; so if you have anything to do with what is without you may conduct yourself accordingly; if it is otherwise and you are made up for sleep and vision, let me know when I should waken you again’ (Letter 301, undated).
Another difficulty about editing the correspondence is that Smith himself was not in favour of such enterprises, as he indicated clearly to William Strahan in connection with a proposal to bring out a volume of Hume’s letters: ‘Many things would be published not fit to see the light to the great mortification of all those who wish well to his memory’ (Letter 181, 2 December 1776). Such a feeling no doubt caused Smith to give instructions to his executors Joseph Black and James Hutton to commit his papers to the flames in the last week of his life.
Yet, if much has been irretrievably lost, and if some of what remains is brief, the range of correspondence published here reflects the preoccupations and activities of Smith’s life, and in opposition to his wish to veil private life, there can be quoted his statement in the Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres: ‘The smallest circumstances, the most minute transactions of a great man, are sought after with eagerness’ (Monday 17 January). We recall, too, the pleasure he took himself in knowing such details as that Milton wore latchets in his shoes (BLJ v. 19, n. 1). Among the many topics covered in the correspondence that go beyond the level of shoe latchets is the revision of the Theory of Moral Sentiments (Letter 40, and its enclosure), as well as source material for a part of The Wealth of Nations (Letters 115–20). On the biographical side, letters published here for the first time show Smith’s solicitude for a pupil (45–9), and solve a murder mystery (97–8). The appendices contain some printed letters addressed to Smith on matters of political economy, also documents associated with the American problem and the customs service.
Concerning the division of editorial responsibilities, Professor Mossner undertook to edit the letters from Smith, and the other editor dealt with letters to Smith. Sad to say ill health forced Professor Mossner to relinquish his share in the book in 1971, but he handed over accurate texts of the Smith letters and the basis for their annotation.
Acknowledgement is made here of the permission readily given by the Clarendon Press to quote from the notes to Hume’s letters to Smith printed in J. Y. T. Greig’s edition of The Letters of David Hume (1932, reprinted 1969), and in New Letters of David Hume, edited by Raymond Klibansky and Ernest C. Mossner (1954, reprinted 1969). A similar acknowledgement is made of permission from Glasgow University to quote from the notes to the Smith correspondence presented in W. R. Scott, Adam Smith as Student and Professor (Glasgow University Publications xlvi, 1937); from the University of Chicago Press and the Syndics of Cambridge University Press to draw facts and identifications from the notes to the Burke–Smith letters printed in the Burke Correspondence, edited by Thomas W. Copeland and others (from 1958).
Errors that remain in the text and notes are the responsibility of the junior editor, who wishes to pay every tribute of affection and respect to his colleague for his care in establishing sound principles for the edition, and for his patience and skill in solving knotty problems.
The format adopted for the edition required numbering and arranging each letter in chronological sequence, with the exception of No. 297 and following, these being letters whose dates are conjectural. After the number of each letter comes a brief citation of the address, when known, as well as the manuscript or printed source. The provenance and date of each letter are to be found in the top right–hand corner of the text, silently normalized to place, day, month, and year. Editors’ conjectures are placed within square brackets, and three dots indicate a cut by a previous editor, empty square brackets indicate a torn or otherwise damaged manuscript.
As for editorial rules, the original spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are all retained, except that in conformity with modern practice capitals are used after periods closing sentences, on the very rare occasions when writers do not observe this convention. Ampersands and contractions are expanded, except for contractions in signatures. The original accentuation of French words in the letters is preserved, except that the grave accent is normalized to the acute where modern practice requires this, as in Abbé. The guiding principle in all of this has been expressed by Dr. Johnson, who ‘did not take to’ Smith but would have hugged him for his love of rhyme: ‘An author’s language Sir, is a characteristical part of his composition, and is also characteristical of the age in which he writes. Besides, Sir, when the language is changed we are not sure that the sense is the same’ (BLJ iv. 315).
It is a pleasure to close this preface by recording the names of the institutions and people who gave us help. Research support was received from the Universities of Texas and British Columbia (1969, 1970), also the Canada Council (1969). The staff at the libraries of these Universities, also at Glasgow University Library, the National Library of Scotland, and the Scottish Record Office, were particularly helpful. Attention was drawn to important manuscript and printed sources by Mr. Edward Carson, librarian of H.M. Customs and Excise Department; Mr. C. P. Finlayson of Edinburgh University Library; Dr. J. D. Fleeman of Pembroke College, Oxford; Lady Edith Haden–Guest of Glasgow University; Dr. T. I. Rae of the National Library of Scotland; and the late Professor Jacob Viner of Princeton University. To the great advantage of the edition in terms of accuracy and clarity, the text and notes were carefully scrutinized by Professor D. D. Raphael of Imperial College, London, and Mr. Andrew S. Skinner, the efficient and knowledgeable secretary of the Adam Smith Committee.
Warm and special thanks go to Miss Moira McKeachie, who drove the editors across Scotland in 1965 when they first pursued Smith letters; to Mr. Antony Grinkus of Vancouver, who acted as research assistant to the project in 1971; to Professor David Stevens of Whitman College, who prepared Appendix B; to Mrs. Magda Chichini Pavitt for research help in 1973; to Miss Jane Douglas of Vancouver, who typed drafts of the edition; and to Mrs. Carolyn Mossner, whose good sense and good humour sustained the enterprise in difficult times.
I. S. R.
Vancouver, British Columbia
This edition incorporates corrections to the text arising from advice from reviewers and correspondents, to whom we are much indebted. Further work on the handwriting of the letters and the information offered in notes is also included. Letter 105 has been replaced by a new version. In addition, the missing part of one letter (letter 78) and eighteen entirely new letters are presented in Appendix E. Of the new ones, fourteen come from the papers of the Second Earl Stanhope, now in the Kent County Archives. They were discovered in 1983 as a result of shrewd enquiries made by Dr. David Raynor, University of Ottawa, in connection with his own research on David Hume. Copies were made available to the editors by Professor D. D. Raphael, Imperial College, London, who followed up a lead given to him by Dr. Raynor. We are most grateful to them for providing the texts of the Stanhope letters and commenting on the notes. We are also very grateful to our Japanese colleagues, Professor Yoshiaki Sudo, Keio University, Yokohama, and Professor Hisashi Shinohara, Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, for tracing Adam Smith letters in their country and helping with annotation. We acknowledge with our thanks the permission to publish the new letters readily given by Edinburgh University Library; Kwansei Gakuin University; Kent Archives Office, Maidstone; the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland; Glasgow University Library; and Professor H. C. Recktenwald, Friedrich–Alexander–Universität, Erlangen–Nürnberg.
12 November 1985
I. S. R.
For permission to publish letters in this volume, acknowledgement is gratefully made to the following individuals and institutions: James Abbey, Esq., Edinburgh; Messrs. George Allen & Unwin Ltd.; the Master and Fellows of Balliol College, Oxford; the Bentham Committee, University College, London; Sir James Hunter Blair of Blairquhan; the Trustees of the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Trustees of the Boston Public Library (items in the Mellen Chamberlain Collection and the Virginia and Richard Ehrlich Autograph Collection); the British Library Board (now vested with ownership of the former Library Departments of the British Museum); Columbia University Library (Seligman Collection); Earl Fitzwilliam and Earl Fitzwilliam Wentworth Estates Company, also the City Librarian, Sheffield: Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments; Edinburgh University Library; Harvard University Library: Houghton Library and the Vanderblue Collection of Smithiana, Kress Library of Business and Economics; the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; the Trustees of the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California; Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, Somerville, New Jersey: Mary and Donald F. Hyde Collection; the Most Hon. the Marquess of Lansdowne; Lehigh University Library: Honeyman Collection; Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, Los Angeles: Mr. Roy Crocker, President; the Hon. Mrs. John Mildmay–White and her Trustees, Baring Brothers & Co. Ltd., London; the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland: Manuscript Department and Mrs. P. G. C. Somervell Deposit; New York Public Library: Manuscript Division and Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection; Mr. M. Nitta, Managing Director, Yushudo Booksellers Ltd., Tokyo; the James M. and Marie–Louise Osborn Collection, Yale University Library; the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City; the Royal Society of Edinburgh; the Scottish Record Office; the Syndics of Cambridge University Press; the Rt. Hon. Viscount Thurso of Ulbster; University of Illinois Library; University of London: Goldsmith Library; University of Michigan: William L. Clements Library; University of Tokyo; the Editorial Committee of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell; and Yale University Library.
|EPS||Essays on Philosophical Subjects (which include)|
|Ancient Logics||‘History of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics’|
|Ancient Physics||‘History of the Ancient Physics’|
|Astronomy||‘History of Astronomy’|
|English and Italian Verses||‘Of the Affinity between certain English and Italian Verses’|
|External Senses||‘Of the External Senses’|
|Imitative Arts||‘Of the Nature of the Imitation which takes place in what are called the Imitative Arts’|
|Music, Dancing, and Poetry||‘Of the Affinity between Music, Dancing, and Poetry’|
|Stewart||Dugald Stewart, ‘Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D.’|
|LJ (A)||Lectures on Jurisprudence (Lothian version)|
|LJ (B)||Lectures on Jurisprudence (Cannan version)|
|LRBL||Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres|
|TMS||The Theory of Moral Sentiments|
|WN||The Wealth of Nations|
|Bentham Corr.||The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, ed. Timothy L. S. Sprigge et al. University of London: Athlone Press, 1968–|
|BLJ||Boswell’s Life of Johnson, ed. G. Birkbeck Hill, revsd. and enlgd. by L. F. Powell, 6 vols. Oxford, 1934–65|
|Bonar||James Bonar, A Catalogue of the Library of Adam Smith, 2nd edn. London, 1932|
|Burke Corr.||The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, ed. Thomas W. Copeland et al., Cambridge University Press and Chicago University Press, 1958–|
|Brougham||Henry Peter Brougham, Lives of Men of Letters and Science . . . in the time of George III, 2 vols. London, 1845–6|
|Carlyle||The Autobiography of Dr Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk 1722–1805, ed. John Hill Burton, new edn. Edinburgh, 1910|
|DNB||Dictionary of National Biography|
|EUL||Edinburgh University Library|
|Fay||C. R. Fay, Adam Smith and the Scotland of His Day, Cambridge University Press, 1956|
|Fraser, Scotts of Buccleuch||Sir William Fraser, The Scotts of Buccleuch, 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1878|
|Geo. III Corr.||The Correspondence of George III 1760–1783, ed. Sir John Fortescue, 6 vols. London, 1927–8|
|GUA||Glasgow University Archives|
|GUL||Glasgow University Library|
|Hamilton||Henry Hamilton, An Economic History of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford, 1963|
|HL||The Letters of David Hume, ed. J. Y. T. Greig, 2 vols. Oxford, 1932|
|HP||The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1754–1790, ed. Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, 3 vols. H.M.S.O., 1964|
|Hume, Phil. Wks.||The Philosophical Works of David Hume, ed. T. H. Green and T. H. Grose, 4 vols. London, 1874–5|
|Mizuta||Hiroshi Mizuta, Adam Smith’s Library: A Supplement to Bonar’s Catalogue with a Check–list of the whole Library, Cambridge University Press, 1967|
|NHL||New Letters of David Hume, ed. Raymond Klibansky and Ernest C. Mossner, Oxford, 1954|
|NLS||National Library of Scotland|
|NYPL||New York Public Library|
|Rae||John Rae, Life of Adam Smith, London, 1895 (reprinted Augustus M. Kelley, New York, 1965, with an Introduction ‘Guide to Rae’s “Life of Smith” ’ by Jacob Viner)|
|Ramsay of Ochtertyre||Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century from the MSS. of John Ramsay, Esq. of Ochtertyre, ed. Alexander Allardyce, 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1888|
|RSE||Royal Society of Edinburgh|
|Scott||W. R. Scott, Adam Smith as Student and Professor, Glasgow University Publications, xlvi, 1937|
|Sinclair, Corr.||The Correspondence of . . . Sir John Sinclair, 2 vols. Edinburgh 1831|
|Small||John Small, ‘Biographical Sketch of Adam Ferguson’, RSE Transactions xxiii (1864), 599–665|
|SRO||Scottish Record Office, H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh|
|Thomson||John Thomson, Life, Lectures and Writings of William Cullen, vol. i, Edinburgh, 1832|
|Walpole, Corr.||The Correspondence of Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, ed. W. S. Lewis et al., Yale Edition, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1937–|
|1720||Adam Smith Sr. md. Margaret Douglas of Strathenry|
|1723||c. 25 Jan. Adam Smith Sr. died; 5 June, Adam Smith baptized in Kirkcaldy|
|c.1732–7||attended Kirkcaldy Burgh School|
|1737–40||attended Glasgow University; taught by Francis Hutcheson; grad. M.A. with distinction|
|1740–6||at Balliol College, Oxford, as Snell Exhibitioner (£40 p.a.); matric. 7 July 1740; nominated to Warner Exhibition (£8. 5s. p.a.) 2 Nov. 1742; visited Adderbury on holidays, home of John 2nd Duke of Argyll; left Balliol c. 15 Aug. 1746; resigned Snell Exhibition 4 Feb. 1749|
|1746–8||lived with his mother in Kirkcaldy|
|1748–51||lectured at Edinburgh on rhetoric and belles lettres, also jurisprudence, under the patronage of Henry Home of Kames, James Oswald of Dunnikier, and Robert Craigie of Glendoick|
|1751||9 Jan. elected Professor of Logic at Glasgow; admitted 16 Jan. then went back to Edinburgh to complete lecture course; from Oct. taught logic at Glasgow, also jurisprudence and politics.|
|1752||22 Apr. elected Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow; became member of the Glasgow Literary Society, also Philosophical Society, Edinburgh|
|1754||member of the Select Society, Edinburgh|
|1755||lectured on economic ideas to a Club organized by Andrew Cochrane, Provost of Glasgow||articles in Edinburgh Review: ‘A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson’ (No. 1, 1 Jan.–1 July 1755); ‘A Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review’ (No. 2, July 1755–Jan. 1756)|
|1758||Quaestor for Glasgow University Library, served until 1760|
|1759||visited Inveraray, home of Archibald 3rd Duke of Argyll||TMS ed. 1|
|1760||chosen Dean of Arts, served until 1763; summer jaunt for health reasons to England; visited the home of Lord Shelburne at High Wycombe|
|1761||Vice–rector of Glasgow University, served until 1763; in London on University business, late Aug.–early Oct.||‘Considerations concerning the First Formation of Languages, and the Different Genius of Original and Compounded Languages,’ The Philological Miscellany i (1761) 440–79|
|TMS ed. 2|
|1762||3 May made a Burgess of Glasgow; 21 Oct. nominated Glasgow LL.D.|
|1763||8 Nov. gave notice of resignation of his Chair; resigned 14 Feb. 1764, from Paris|
|1764||Jan. left Glasgow for London, en route to France as travelling tutor to Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch; arrived in Paris 13 Feb. and remained ten days, then left for Toulouse; joined there by the Duke’s brother, the Hon. Hew Campbell Scott|
|1765||in Toulouse until Oct., at work on an early draft of WN; toured the south of France October; in Geneva Nov.–Dec. and met Voltaire; went on to Paris|
|1766||In Paris Jan.–Oct., on friendly terms with the La Rochefoucauld circle, Mme de Boufflers, the philosophes, and the Quesnai circle; 19 Oct. Hon. Hew Campbell Scott died of fever; Smith and the Duke of Buccleuch returned to England, landing at Dover on 1 Nov.; Smith was given a pension of £300 p.a. for life from the Buccleuch estates|
|1766||Nov.–Mar. 1767 in London: assisted Charles Townshend with taxation projects; carried out research on the history of colonies for Lord Shelburne; elected Fellow of the Royal Society 21 May (admitted 27 May 1773)|
|1767||TMS ed. 3|
|May–Apr. 1773 lived in Kirkcaldy with his mother, working on WN; made a Burgess of Edinburgh, June 1770|
|1773||May–Apr. 1776 in London, working on WN; elected member of The Club which Joshua Reynolds had founded as a forum for Dr. Johnson|
|1774||TMS ed. 4|
|1776||9 Mar. publication of WN; May–Dec. in Kirkcaldy, visited Hume in Edinburgh during his last illness||WN|
|1777||Jan.–beginning of Oct. in London||‘Letter to Strahan’ (9 Nov. 1776) on the death of Hume, Scots Magazine xxxi (Jan. 1777), 5–7|
|Oct.–Jan. 1778 in Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh||? composed ‘Thoughts on the State of the Contest with America’|
|1778||30 Jan. gazetted Commissioner of Customs for Scotland (£500 p.a.) and of Salt Duties (£100 p.a.); settled in Panmure House, Canongate, Edinburgh, with his mother and as housekeeper his cousin Janet Douglas; adopted as his heir David Douglas (later Lord Reston), a nephew’s son; resumed membership of the Poker Club; gave Sunday suppers for friends among the literati and distinguished visitors||WN ed. 2 (early in the year)|
|1781||TMS ed. 5|
|1782||in London, attended dinners of The Club; returned to Scotland early in July|
|1783||founder member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; served as one of the presidents of its literary class|
|1784||Apr. accompanied Edmund Burke to Glasgow for his installation as Lord Rector of the University; his mother died on 23 May||WN ed. 3 (‘Additions and Corrections’ to eds. 1 and 2 were printed separately)|
|1786||WN ed. 4|
|1787||Mar.–Aug. in London, probably for health reasons; said to have been consulted by the Government of Pitt the Younger; 15 Nov. elected Lord Rector of Glasgow University, and served until 1789|
|1788||sometime after Sept. Janet Douglas died|
|1789||WN ed. 5|
|1790||May 17 July, Adam Smith died in Panmure House; buried in the Canongate kirkyard||TMS ed. 6 (revised and enlarged)|
|1795||EPS, ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton|
|1896||LJ (B), ed. Edwin Cannan|
|1933||‘Smiths Thoughts on the State of the Contest with America, February 1778’, ed. G. H. Guttridge, American Historical Review xxxviii. 714–20|
|1963||LRBL, ed. John M. Lothian|
|1977||LJ (A), ed. Ronald Meek, D. D. Raphael, and Peter Stein|
|1||24 Aug. 1740||Oxford||to William Smith||1|
|2||[1740–6]||Oxford||to his mother||1|
|3||23 Oct. 1741||Adderbury||to his mother||2|
|4||12 May [? 1742]||Oxford||to his mother||2|
|5||29 Nov. 1743||Oxford||to his mother||3|
|6||2 July 1744||Oxford||to his mother||3|
|7||4 Feb. 1748–9||Edinburgh||to [Dr. Theophilus Leigh]||3|
|8||10 Jan. 1751||Edinburgh||to [Robert Simson]||4|
|9||3 Sept. 1751||Edinburgh||to William Cullen||4|
|10||Nov. 1751||Edinburgh||to William Cullen||5|
|11||19 Jan. 1752 (N.S.)||Glasgow||to James Oswald||6|
|12||24 Sept. 1752||Edinburgh||from David Hume||8|
|13||26 May 1753||Edinburgh||from David Hume||9|
|14||27 Feb. 1754||Edinburgh||from David Hume||10|
|15||20 Mar. ||Oxford||from Alexander Wedderburn||11|
|16||27 Aug. 1754||Alloa||from Adam Smith, Collector of Customs||13|
|17||Oct. 1754||Groningen||from Adam Ferguson||13|
|18||1 Dec. 1754||Leipzig||from Adam Ferguson||14|
|19||17 Dec. 1754||Edinburgh||from David Hume||16|
|20||9 Jan. 1755||Edinburgh||from David Hume||17|
|21||[14 Feb. 1755]||Glasgow||to [Dr. George Stone]||18|
|22||Feb.–Mar.? 1757||Edinburgh||from David Hume||19|
|23||7 Sept. 1757||Glasgow||to [Gilbert Elliot]||21|
|24||Oct. 1757||Glasgow||to [Lord Milton]||22|
|25||8 June 1758||Edinburgh||from David Hume||24|
|26||19 Aug. 1758||Glasgow||to William Johnstone||25|
|27||14 Nov. 1758||London||from Gilbert Elliot||26|
|28||21 Feb. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Fitzmaurice||28|
|29||10 Mar. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||29|
|30||4 Apr. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||30|
|31||12 Apr. 1759||London||from David Hume||33|
|32||26 Apr. 1759||Dublin||from Lord Shelburne||36|
|33||26 Apr. 1759||London||from Andrew Millar||39|
|34||14 June ||Edinburgh||from William Robertson||40|
|35||23 July 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||41|
|36||28 July 1759||London||from David Hume||42|
|37||31 Aug. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||44|
|38||10 Sept. 1759||Westminster||from Edmund Burke||46|
|39||17 Sept. 1759||Glasgow||to Charles Townshend||47|
|40||10 Oct. 1759||Glasgow||to [Gilbert Elliot]||48|
|41||24 Oct. 1759||Glasgow||to [Archibald Campbell]||57|
|42||29 Oct. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||58|
|43||3 Dec. 1759||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||60|
|44||9 Jan. 1760||Glasgow||to [Archibald Campbell]||62|
|45||10 Mar. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||62|
|46||12 Mar. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||64|
|47||[? 13] Mar. 1760||Glasgow||to Andrew Stuart||65|
|48||17 Mar. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||66|
|49||19 Mar. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||66|
|50||4 Apr. 1760||Glasgow||to William Strahan||67|
|51||15 July 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||69|
|52||11 Nov. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||71|
|53||18 Nov. 1760||Glasgow||to Lord Shelburne||72|
|54||30 Dec. 1760||Glasgow||to William Strahan||73|
|55||6 June 1761||St. Andrews||from Lord Cardross (later 11th Earl of Buchan)||75|
|56||24 June 1761||Edinburgh||from Robert Cullen||76|
|57||29 June 1761||Ninewells||from David Hume||77|
|58||15 July 1761||Glasgow||from Dr. William Leechman||77|
|59||27 Oct. 1761||London||from Lord Erroll||78|
|60||2 Nov. 1761||Glasgow||to Joshua Sharpe||79|
|61||5 Nov. 1761||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||79|
|62||12 Nov. 1761||London||from David Lyle||80|
|63||4 Jan. 1762||Dunlop||from Thomas Wallace||81|
|64||26 Feb. 1762||Oxford||from Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice||81|
|65||9 Mar. 1762||Glasgow||to William Johnstone||84|
|66||9 Apr. 1762||Glasgow||to Sir Gilbert Elliot, (Lord Minto)||85|
|67||15 June 1762||Glasgow||to Joshua Sharpe||85|
|68||8 July 1762||Slains Castle||from Lord Erroll||87|
|69||7 Feb. 1763||Glasgow||to George Baird||87|
|70||22 Feb. 1763||Glasgow||to David Hume||89|
|71||28 Mar. 1763||Edinburgh||from David Hume||89|
|72||21 July 1763||Edinburgh||from David Hume||90|
|73||9 Aug. 1763||Edinburgh||from David Hume||91|
|74||11 Sept. 1763||Aberdeen||from Henry Herbert (later, Lord Porchester)||91|
|75||13 Sept. 1763||London||from David Hume||92|
|76||25 Oct. 1763||Adderbury||from Charles Townshend||95|
|77||28 Oct. 1763||Fontainebleau||from David Hume||96|
|78||12 Dec. 1763||Glasgow||to David Hume||98|
|79||23 Jan. 1764||Glasgow||from Joseph Black||98|
|80||2 Feb. 1764||Glasgow||from John Millar||99|
|81||14 Feb. 1764||Paris||to Thomas Miller||100|
|82||5 July 1764||Toulouse||to David Hume||101|
|83||21 Oct. 1764||Toulouse||to David Hume||102|
|84||4 Nov. 1764||Toulouse||to David Hume||103|
|85||5 Nov. 1764||Glasgow||from John Glassford||104|
|86||[Aug. 1765]||[? Toulouse]||to David Hume||105|
|87||5 Sept. 1765||Paris||from David Hume||106|
|88||[? Sept.] 1765||[? Toulouse]||to David Hume||107|
|89||10–11 Dec. 1765||Ferney||from Mme Marie Louise Denis||109|
|90||[Jan.] 1766||[London]||from David Hume||110|
|91||18 Feb. 1766||from le Gr[and] Vic[aire] Eccossois||111|
|92||13 Mar. 1766||Paris||to David Hume||112|
|93||6 July 1766||Paris||to David Hume||112|
|94||26 Aug. 1766||Compiègne||to Charles Townshend||114|
|95||27 Aug. 1766||Compiègne||to [Charles Townshend]||116|
|96||[Aug.] 1766||[London]||from David Hume||117|
|97||15 Oct. 1766||Paris||to Lady Frances Scott||119|
|98||19 Oct. 1766||Paris||to Lady Frances Scott||121|
|99||[autumn] 1766||Paris||to Andrew Millar||121|
|100||[winter] 1766–67||London||to William Strahan||122|
|101||12 Feb. 1767||London||to Lord Shelburne||122|
|102||25 Mar. ||London||to Thomas Cadell||124|
|103||7 June 1767||Kirkcaldy||to David Hume||125|
|104||13 June 1767||London||from David Hume||126|
|105||23 June 1767||London||from [Count de Sarsfield]||127|
|106||26 June 1767||Kirkcaldy||to John Craigie||130|
|107||14 July 1767||London||from David Hume||130|
|108||30 Aug. 1767||Kirkcaldy||to [William Strahan]||131|
|109||13 Sept. 1767||Edinburgh||to David Hume||131|
|110||[end of Sept. 1767]||London||from David Hume||133|
|111||8 Oct. 1767||London||from David Hume||133|
|112||17 Oct. 1767||London||from David Hume||136|
|113||27 Jan. 1768||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Shelburne||137|
|114||25 Dec. 1768||Kirkcaldy||to Archibald Campbell||138|
|115||15 Jan. 1769||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Hailes||139|
|116||5 Mar. 1769||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Hailes||141|
|117||6 Mar. 1769||Edinburgh||from Lord Hailes||143|
|118||12 Mar. 1769||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Hailes||151|
|119||16 May 1769||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Hailes||152|
|120||23 May 1769||Kirkcaldy||to Lord Hailes||154|
|121||20 Aug. 1769||Edinburgh||from David Hume||155|
|122||28 Aug. 1769||Edinburgh||from James Boswell||156|
|123||6 Feb. 1770||Edinburgh||from David Hume||156|
|124||[Feb. 1770]||Edinburgh||from David Hume||158|
|125||11 Mar. 1771||Kirkcaldy||to John Davidson||158|
|126||7 June 1771||Paris||from Count de Sarsfield||159|
|127||26 July 1771||Kirkcaldy||to John Spottiswoode||159|
|128||[autumn 1771]||Kirkcaldy||to John Davidson||160|
|129||28 Jan. 1772||Edinburgh||from David Hume||160|
|130||[Feb.? 1772]||[? Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy]||to Mme de Boufflers||161|
|131||27 June 1772||Edinburgh||from David Hume||161|
|132||3 Sept. 1772||Kirkcaldy||to William Pulteney||163|
|133||[Oct. 1772]||Edinburgh||from David Hume||164|
|134||23 Nov. 1772||Edinburgh||from David Hume||166|
|135||24 Feb. 1773||Edinburgh||from David Hume||166|
|136||10 Apr. 1773||Edinburgh||from David Hume||167|
|137||16 Apr. 1773||Edinburgh||to David Hume||168|
|138||2 Sept. 1773||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||169|
|139||23 Jan. 1774||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||169|
|140||13 Feb. 1774||Edinburgh||from David Hume||171|
|141||11 Mar. 1774||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||172|
|142||1 June 1774||Geneva||from Adam Ferguson||172|
|143||20 Sept. 1774||London||to William Cullen||173|
|144||25 Feb. 1774||Geneva||from Patrick Clason||179|
|145||1 May 1775||Westminster||from Edmund Burke||180|
|146||9 May 1775||London||to David Hume||181|
|147||1 Nov. 1775||Bo’ness||from Dr. John Roebuck||182|
|148||13 Dec. 1775||[London]||to Henry Dundas||184|
|149||8 Feb. 1776||Edinburgh||from David Hume||185|
|150||1 Apr. 1776||Edinburgh||from David Hume||186|
|151||3 Apr. ||Edinburgh||from Hugh Blair||187|
|152||[Apr. 1776]||[Edinburgh]||from Joseph Black||190|
|153||8 Apr. 1776||North Murchiston||from William Robertson||192|
|154||18 Apr. 1776||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||193|
|155||Apr. 1776||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||194|
|156||3 May 1776||London||from David Hume||194|
|157||3 May 1776||London||from David Hume||195|
|158||3 June 1776||Kirkcaldy||to [William Strahan]||196|
|159||6 June 1776||[? London]||from Alexander Wedderburn||197|
|160||10 June 1776||London||from William Strahan||199|
|161||16 June 1776||Kirkcaldy||to David Hume||201|
|162||6 July 1776||Edinburgh||to [William Strahan]||202|
|163||14 Aug. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to Alexander Wedderburn||203|
|164||14 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||from Joseph Black||204|
|165||15 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||from David Hume||205|
|166||22 Aug. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to David Hume||206|
|167||22 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||from Joseph Black||207|
|168||23 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||from David Hume||208|
|169||26 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||from Joseph Black||208|
|170||31 Aug. 1776||Edinburgh||to John Home of Ninewells||209|
|171||2 Sept. 1776||Edinburgh||from John Home of Ninewells||210|
|172||5 Sept. 1776||Edinburgh||to William Strahan||210|
|173||16 Sept. 1776||Southampton||from William Strahan||212|
|174||25 Sept. 1776||Richmond||A Letter from Governor Pownall||213|
|175||7 Oct. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to [John Home of Ninewells]||214|
|176||14 Oct. 1776||Ninewells||from John Home of Ninewells||214|
|177||[Oct.] 1776||[Kirkcaldy]||to [William Strahan]||216|
|178||9 Nov. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to William Strahan||217|
|179||13 Nov. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to William Strahan||221|
|180||26 Nov. 1776||London||from William Strahan||222|
|181||2 Dec. 1776||Kirkcaldy||to William Strahan||223|
|182||19 Jan. 1777||London||to Governor Pownall||224|
|183||12 Apr. 1777||Edinburgh||from Adam Ferguson||225|
|184||27 Oct. 1777||Kirkcaldy||to William Strahan||226|
|185||30 Oct. 1777||[London]||from Alexander Wedderburn||226|
|186||7 Nov. 1777||Westminster||from Sir Grey Cooper||227|
|187||26 Nov. 1777||London||from Edward Gibbon||228|
|188||20 Dec. 1777||Edinburgh||to William Strahan||229|
|189||1777||A Letter to Adam Smith LL.D. on the Life, Death, and Philosophy of . . . David Hume, Esq. ‘By One of the People called Christians’||230|
|[the Revd. George Horne]|
|190||14 Jan. 1778||Kirkcaldy||to William Strahan||230|
|191||21 Jan. 1778||Kirkcaldy||to John Spottiswoode||231|
|192||5 Feb. 1778||Edinburgh||to William Strahan||232|
|193||5 Feb. 1778||Edinburgh||to [? Sir Grey Cooper]||232|
|194||3 Mar. 1778||Verteuil||from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld||233|
|195||16 Nov. 1778||Edinburgh||to Lord Kames||234|
|196||24 Nov. 1778||Edinburgh||to John Sinclair of Ulbster||235|
|197||28 Nov. 1778||Kensington Gore||from [John Macpherson]||236|
|198||Jan. 1779||Edinburgh||to [unidentified nobleman]||237|
|199||6 Aug. 1779||Verteuil||from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld||238|
|200||30 Oct. 1779||Melville||from Henry Dundas||239|
|201||1 Nov. 1779||Edinburgh||to [Henry Dundas]||240|
|202||8 Nov. 1779||Edinburgh||to [Lord Carlisle]||242|
|203||3 Jan. 1780||Edinburgh||to [William Eden]||244|
|204||23 May 1780||Edinburgh||to Henry Mackenzie||246|
|205||5 July 1780||Edinburgh||to John Davidson||247|
|206||25 Oct. ||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||247|
|207||26 Oct. 1780||Edinburgh||to [William Strahan]||248|
|208||[26 Oct. 1780]||[Edinburgh]||to [Andreas Holt]||249|
|209||[26 Oct. 1780]||[Edinburgh]||to Peter Anker||253|
|210||26 Nov. 1780||Bath||from the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch||254|
|211||30 Nov. 1780||Calcutta||from Samuel Charters||254|
|212||1780||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||255|
|213||18 June 1781||[Ostend]||from [Count de Sarsfield]||255|
|214||29 Oct. 1781||Edinburgh||to James Hunter Blair||256|
|215||7 June 1782||Edinburgh||from Henry Mackenzie||257|
|216||1 July 1782||London||to Edmund Burke||258|
|217||6 July 1782||London||to Edmund Burke||259|
|218||23 July 1782||Edinburgh||to Abbé Blavet||259|
|219||21 Aug. 1782||Edinburgh||to Charles Mackinnon of Mackinnon||260|
|220||Sept. 1782||to [unknown correspondent]||261|
|221||14 Oct. 1782||Edinburgh||to John Sinclair of Ulbster||262|
|222||7 Dec. 1782||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||263|
|223||12 Dec. 1782||London||from Thomas Cadell||264|
|224||25 Feb. 1783||[Edinburgh]||to John Davidson||264|
|225||17 Mar. 1783||Edinburgh||to Lady Frances Scott||265|
|226||15 Apr. 1783||Edinburgh||to Edmund Burke||265|
|227||22 May 1783||Edinburgh||to William Strahan||266|
|228||2 June 1783||Edinburgh||to [Sir Grey Cooper]||266|
|229||19 June 1783||Edinburgh||to [Edward Gibbon]||267|
|230||20 June 1783||London||from Edmund Burke||268|
|231||6 Oct. 1783||Edinburgh||to [William Strahan]||269|
|232||20 Nov. 1783||Edinburgh||to [William Strahan]||270|
|233||15 Dec. 1783||Edinburgh||to William Eden||271|
|234||18 Dec. 1783||London||from George Dempster||272|
|235||1783||Edinburgh||to [? William Eden]||273|
|236||7 May ||Edinburgh||to John Davidson||274|
|237||10 June 1784||Edinburgh||to William Strahan||275|
|238||18 June 1784||[Edinburgh]||to Dr. Maxwell Garthshore||276|
|239||19 June 1784||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||276|
|240||10 Aug. 1784||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||278|
|241||16 Nov. 1784||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||279|
|242||18 Nov. 1784||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||279|
|243||22 Feb. 1785||Edinburgh||to James Menteath||280|
|244||21 Apr. 1785||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||281|
|245||24 Aug. 1785||Highclere||from Henry Herbert, Lord Porchester||282|
|246||11 Sept. 1785||Miramichi, New Brunswick||from Robert Reid||283|
|247||29 Sept. 1785||Edinburgh||to Andrew Strahan||285|
|248||1 Nov. 1785||Edinburgh||to Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld||286|
|249||10 Nov. 1785||Edinburgh||to George Chalmers||287|
|250||3 Dec. 1785||[Edinburgh]||to George Chalmers||289|
|251||22 Dec. 1785||Edinburgh||to [George Chalmers]||289|
|252||3 Jan. 1786||Edinburgh||to [George Chalmers]||290|
|253||30 Jan. 1786||Edinburgh||to John Sinclair of Ulbster||291|
|254||4 Feb. 1786||[Edinburgh]||to Fraser Tytler||292|
|255||5 Feb. 1786||London||from Buccleuch Sharp||292|
|256||13 Feb. 1786||Edinburgh||to Andrew Strahan||293|
|257||14 Mar. 1786||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||293|
|258||11 Apr. 1786||Edinburgh||to [Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster]||294|
|259||1 May 1786||Edinburgh||to Abbé Morellet||295|
|260||2 May 1786||Gosport||from Sir Charles Douglas||296|
|261||7 May 1786||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||296|
|262||3 Oct. 1786||Edinburgh||to John Bruce||296|
|263||7 Dec. 1786||Beconsfield||from Edmund Burke||297|
|264||13 Dec. 1786||Edinburgh||to Lt. Col. Alexander Ross||299|
|265||20 Dec. 1786||Beconsfield||from Edmund Burke||300|
|266||6 Mar. 1787||Edinburgh||to [Bishop John Douglas]||301|
|267||21 Mar. 1787||London||from Henry Dundas||302|
|268||Mar. 1787||Crichoff, White Russia||from Jeremy Bentham||303|
|269||9 May 1787||London||to Joseph Black||303|
|270||13 June 1787||London||to Lt. Col. Alexander Ross||303|
|271||8 July 1787||Edinburgh||from Bishop John Geddes||305|
|272||18 July 1787||London||to Henry Dundas||306|
|273||20 Aug. 1787||London||from John Logan||307|
|274||16 Nov. 1787||Edinburgh||to Dr. Archibald Davidson||308|
|275||18 Dec. 1787||Edinburgh||to Sir Joseph Banks||309|
|276||15 Mar. 1788||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||310|
|277||19 June 1788||Paris||from Pierre–Samuel Dupont de Nemours||311|
|278||16 July 1788||Edinburgh||to Dr. Archibald Davidson||313|
|279||19 Aug. 1788||Greenock||from George Cunningham||314|
|280||1 Sept. 1788||Edinburgh||to Henry Dundas||314|
|281||16 Sept. 1788||Edinburgh||to Dr. James Menteath||315|
|282||11 Oct. 1788||Edinburgh||to [? William Robertson]||316|
|283||10 Dec. 1788||Edinburgh||to Edward Gibbon||316|
|284||2 Feb. 1789||Edinburgh||to Dr. James Menteath||317|
|285||20 Feb. 1789||Gosport||from Mrs. L. M. Bingham||318|
|286||25 Mar. 1789||Edinburgh||to [Henry Dundas]||318|
|287||31 Mar. 1789||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||319|
|288||20 Apr. 1789||Closeburn Castle||from Dr. James Menteath||320|
|289||9 May 1789||Edinburgh||to Dr. James Menteath||321|
|290||[18 Sept. 1789]||Edinburgh||to Sir William Forbes||322|
|291||21 Jan. 1790||Edinburgh||to David Douglas||322|
|292||9 Feb. 1790||Edinburgh||to Robert Cullen||323|
|293||24 Feb. 1790||London||from the 3rd Duke of Buccleuch||323|
|294||16 May 1790||Edinburgh||to [Thomas Cadell]||324|
|295||25 May 1790||Edinburgh||to Thomas Cadell||325|
|296||1790||from Jeremy Bentham||325|
|297||[1752–63]||Glasgow||to William Johnstone||326|
|298||7 Sept. [? 1780]||Edinburgh||to John Bruce||326|
|299||[ ]||[ ]||to Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster||327|
|300||3 June [ ]||Edinburgh||from David Hume||327|
|301||Nov. [ ]||Edinburgh||from James Hutton||327|
|302||[? end of Oct. / end of Dec. 1766]||[ ]||from [Charles Townshend]||328|
|303||[late 1784, or after]||[Edinburgh]||to Thomas Wharton||334|
|304||[? late Jan.–Apr. 1751]||[Glasgow]||from [William Cullen]||334|
|a.||12 Dec. 1763||Glasgow||to David Hume|
|[b.||17 Nov. 1772||Edinburgh||from David Hume]|
|c.||24 June 1775||London||to Lord Stanhope|
|d.||29 Mar. 1777||London||to Lord Stanhope|
|e.||2 Apr. 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|f.||5 Apr. 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|g.||7 Apr. 1777||London||from||James Chalmer|
|g.(i)||6 Apr. 1774||Paris||from||Lord Stanhope to Adam Ferguson|
|h.||8 Apr. 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|i.||19 Apr. 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|j.||29 Apr. 1777||from||Alexander Wedderburn|
|k.||30 Apr. 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|l.||8 May 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|m.||14 May 1777||London||to||Lord Mahon|
|n.||24 May 1777||London||to||Lord Stanhope|
|o.||14 June 1777||London||to||Lady Stanhope|
|p.||23 Sept. 1788||Edinburgh||to||Henry Herbert, Lord Porchester|
|q.||[6 May 1789]||[Dover]||from||Dugald Stewart|
|r.||21 Jan. 1790||Edinburgh||to||Hon. Henry Herbert|
|s.||[ ]||[Edinburgh]||to||John Maclaurin|
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/126; Scott 232.
Oxford, 24 Aug. 1740
I yesterday receiv’d your letter with a bill of sixteen pounds inclos’d, for which I humbly thank you, but more for the good advice you were pleased to give me: I am indeed affraid that my expences at college must necessarily amount to a much greater sum this year than at any time hereafter; because of the extraordinary and most extravagant fees we are obligd to pay the College and University on our admittance; it will be his own fault if anyone should endanger his health at Oxford by excessive Study, our only business here being to go to prayers twice a day, and to lecture twice a week. I am, dear Sir
MS., GUL Gen. 1464/6; unpubl.
Dear Mother I have but just time to tell you that I am well. I received a letter from Mr Miller today but have not time to answer it. I shall have the Box you mention provided against next week. I have not yet received the money
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/127; Scott 232.
Adderbury, 23 Oct. 1741
I have been these fourteen days last past here at Adderbury with Mr Smith; the Place is agreeable enough, and there is a great deal of good company in the town.
In my last Letter I desir’d you to send me some Stocking’s, the sooner you send ’em the better; I have taken this opportunity to write, to you, and to give my service to all friends, tho’ as you see, I have not very much to say,
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/128; Scott 233.
[Oxford,] 12 May 
I take this opportunity of writing to you, by a Gentleman of my acquaintance who sets out for Scotland tomorrow. The Certificate of my age which I mentioned in my last Letter’s, will not be necessary so soon as I then expected; if you have not sent it already, it will come in full time if you give it to Mr Smith when he returns from Scotland. I told you in my last to inform Mr Smith that one of the £40 Exhibitions would shortly be vacant, in case that he intended to make interest for any of his friends: ’Twill not however be vacant so soon as I expected. The Gentleman who carry’s this to Edinburgh (one Mr Preston) I have been very much oblig’d to; he will probably be at Kirkaldy and will wait upon you before he leaves Scotland.
Brougham, ii. 216; Rae 25.
Oxford, 29 Nov. 1743
I am just recovered of a violent fit of laziness, which has confined me to my elbow–chair these three months.
Brougham, ii. 216; Rae 25.
Oxford, 2 July 1744
I am quite inexcusable for not writing to you oftener. I think of you every day, but always defer writing till the post is just going, and then sometimes business or company, but oftener laziness, hinders me. Tar water is a remedy very much in vogue here at present for almost all diseases. It has perfectly cured me of an inveterate scurvy and shaking in the head. I wish you’d try it. I fancy it might be of service to you.
MS., Balliol College, Oxford; Scott 137.
Edinburgh, 4 Feb. 1748/9
I Adam Smith one of the Exhibitioners on Mr Snells foundation in Baliol College in Oxford do hereby resign into the hands of the Revd Dr Leigh Master of the said college all rights and title which I have to an Exhibition on the said foundation as witness my hand
MS., GUA; unpubl.
Edinburgh, 10 Jan. 1751
I have just received the favor of yours. And must begg leave by your hands to return my sincere thanks to the gentlemen of your Society for the [favour] they have done me by electing me to supply the vacant proffesorship to declare my acceptance of their favor, and to assure them that it shall be my chief study to render myselfe a useful member of their Society.
I shall do my endeavour to get to Glasgow on Tuesday night, if something extraordinary does not prevent it. I shall, however, be under a necessity of returning in a day or in two days thereafter to Edinburgh. And cannot even be very certain if that absence will be consented to by my friends here. I am with great esteem dear Sir
Thomson i. 605; Rae 44.
Edinburgh, 3 Sept. 1751
I received yours this moment. I am very glad that Mr Craigie has at last resolved to go to Lisbon. I make no doubt but he will soon receive all the benefit he expects, or can wish, from a warmer climate. I shall, with great pleasure, do what I can to relieve him of the burden of his class. You mention Natural Jurisprudence and Politics as the parts of his lectures, which it would be most agreeable for me to take upon me to teach. I shall willingly undertake both. I should be glad to know when he sets out for Lisbon, because, if it is not before the 1st of October, I would endeavour to see him before he goes, that I might receive his advice about the plan I ought to follow. I would pay great deference to it in every thing, and would follow it implicitly in this, as I shall consider myself as standing in his place and representing him. If he goes before that time, I wish he would leave some directions for me, either with you or with Mr Leechman, were it only by word of mouth.
Thomson, Life of Cullen i. 606; Rae 45–6.
Edinburgh, Tuesday, Nov. 1751
I did not write to you on Saturday, as I promised, because I was every moment expecting Mr. Home to town. He is not, however, yet come.
I should prefer David Hume to any man for a colleague; but I am afraid the public would not be of my opinion; and the interest of the society will oblige us to have some regard to the opinion of the public. If the event, however, we are afraid of should happen, we can see how the public receives it. From the particular knowledge I have of Mr. Elliot’s sentiments, I am pretty certain Mr. Lindsay must have proposed it to him, not he to Lindsay. I am for ever obliged to you for your concern for my interest in that affair.
When I saw you at Edinburgh, you talked to me of the Principal’s proposing to retire. I gave little attention to it at that time but, upon further consideration, should be glad to listen to any proposal of that kind. The reasons of my changing my opinion I shall tell you at meeting. I need not recommend secrecy to you upon this head. Be so good as to thank the Principal in my name for his kindness in mentioning me to the Duke [of Argyll]. I waited on him at his levee at Edinburgh, where I was introduced to him by Mr. Lind; but it seems he had forgot.
I can tell you nothing particular about your own affair, more than what I wrote you last, till I see Mr. Home, whom I expect every moment. I am, most dear Sir, ever yours,
Memorials of . . . James Oswald of Dunnikier, ed. by his grandson (1825) 124; Rae 103–4.
Glasgow, 19 Jan. 1752 N.S.
This will be delivered to you by Mr. William Johnstone, son to Sir James Johnstone of Westerhall, a young gentleman whom I have known intimately these four years, and of whose discretion, good temper, sincerity, and honour, I have had, during all that time, frequent proofs. You will find in him too, if you come to know him better, some qualities which, from real and unaffected modesty, he does not at first discover; a refinement and depth of observation, and an accuracy of judgment, joined to a natural delicacy of sentiment, as much improved as study, and the narrow sphere of acquaintance which this country affords, can improve it. He had, first when I knew him, a good deal of vivacity and humour, but he has studied them away. He is an advocate; and, though I am sensible of the folly of prophesying with regard to the future fortune of so young a man, yet I could almost venture to foretell, that, if he lives, he will be eminent in that profession. He has, I think, every quality that ought to forward, and not one that should obstruct his progress, modesy and sincerity excepted, and these, it is to be hoped, experience and a better sense of things may, in part, cure him of. I do not, I assure you, exaggerate knowingly, but could pawn my honour upon the truth of every article. You will find him, I imagine, a young gentleman of solid, substantial (not flashy) abilities and worth. Private business obliges him to spend some time at London. He would beg to be allowed the privilege of waiting on you sometimes, to receive your advice how he may employ his time there in the manner that will tend most to his real and lasting improvement.
I am very sensible how much I presume upon your indulgence, in giving you this trouble; but, as it is to serve and comply with a person for whom I have the most entire friendship, I know you will excuse me, though guilty of an indiscretion; at least, if you do not, you will not judge others as you would desire to be judged yourself; for I am very sure a like motive would carry you to be guilty of a greater.
I would have waited on you when you was last in Scotland, had the College allowed me three days’ vacation; and it gave me real uneasiness that I should be in the same country with you, and not have the pleasure of seeing you. Believe it, no man can more rejoice at your late success, or at whatever else tends to your honour and prosperity, than does,
MS., RSE ii. 25; HL i.167–9.
24 Sept. 1752
I confess, I was once of the same Opinion with you, and thought that the best Period to begin an English History was about Henry the 7th. But you will please to observe, that the Change, which then happen’d in public Affairs, was very insensible, and did not display its Influence till many Years afterwards. Twas under James that the House of Commons began first to raise their Head, and then the Quarrel betwixt Privilege and Prerogative commenc’d. The Government, no longer opprest by the enormous Authority of the Crown, display’d its Genius; and the Factions, which then arose, having an Influence on our present Affairs, form the most curious, interesting, and instructive Part of our History. The preceding Events or Causes may easily be shown in a Reflection or Review, which may be artfully inserted in the Body of the Work and the whole, by that means, be render’d more compact and uniform. I confess, that the Subject appears to me very fine; and I enter upon it with great Ardour and Pleasure. You need not doubt of my Perseverance.
I am just now diverted for a Moment by correcting my Essays moral and political, for a new Edition. If any thing occur to you to be inserted or retrench’d, I shall be obligd to you for the Hint. In case you shou’d not have the last Edition by you, I shall send you a Copy of it. In that Edition, I was engag’d to act contrary to my Judgement in retaining the 6th and 7th Essays, which I had resolv’d to throw out, as too frivolous for the rest, and not very agreeable neither even in that trifling manner: But Millar, my Bookseller, made such Protestations against it, and told me how much he had heard them praisd by the best Judges; that the Bowels of a Parent melted, and I preserv’d them alive.
All the rest of Bolingbroke’s Works went to the Press last Week, as Millar informs me. I confess my Curiosity is not much rais’d.
I had almost lost your Letter by its being wrong directed. I receiv’d it late; which was the Reason why you got not sooner a Copy of Joannes Magnus. Direct to me in Riddal’s Land, Lawn Market. I am Dear Sir Yours sincerely
MS., in possession of Maggs Bros. (1932); HL i. 176.
Edinburgh, Jack’s Land, 26 May 1753
I was very sorry to hear by Mr Leechman that you had been ill of late. I am afraid the Fatigues of your Class have exhausted you too much, and that you require more Leizure and Rest than you allow yourself. However, the good Season and the Vacation now approaches; and I hope you intend, both for Exercise and Relaxation, to take a Jaunt to this Place. I have many things to communicate to you. Were you not my Friend, you wou’d envy my robust Constitution. My Application has been and is continual; and yet I preserve entire Health. I am now beginning the Long Parliament; which, considering the great Number of Volumes I peruse, and my scrupulous method of composing, I regard as a very great Advance I think you shou’d settle in this Town during the Vacation; where there always is some good Company; and you know, that I can supply you with Books, as much as you please.
I beg to hear from you at your Leizure; and am
MS., Houghton Library, Harvard University, T.P. 2050.50.2; NHL 35–7.
Edinburgh, 27 Feb. 1754
I am writing kind of circular Letters, recommending Mr Blacklock’s Poems [to] all my Acquaintance, but especially to those, whose Approbation wou’d contribute most to recommend them [to] the World. They are, indeed, many of them very elegant, and wou’d have deserv’d much Esteem, had [t]hey come from a Man plac’d in the most favorable Circumstances. What a Prodigy are they, when considerd as the Production of a man, so cruelly dealt with, both by Nature [and] Fortune? When you add to this, that the Author is a Man of the best Dispositions, that I have ever known, and tho’ of great Frugality, is plac’d in the most cruel Indigence, you will certainly think his Case more deserving of Pity and Regard than any you have almost met with. Mr Foulis has Copies to dispose of, which I have sent him; and which he will disperse without expecting any Profit. I must entreat you, not only to take a Copy yourself, but also to take a few more and [dis]pose of among your Acquaintance. I trust at least to have half a dozen disposd of by your [me]ans. I have sold off about fifty in a few days. The Price is three Shillings. That you may [rec]ommend them with a safer Conscience, please read the Ode to a young Gentleman going to the Coast of Guinea, that on Refinements in metaphysical Philosophy, that to a Lady on the Death of her Son; the Wish, an Elegy; the Soliloquy. I am much mistaken, if you do not find all these [v]ery laudable Performances; and such as wou’d be esteem’d an Ornament to Dodesley’s Miscellanies [o]r even to better Collections.
We expected to have seen you in Town about this time; but have been dissappointed. I am [v]ery glad your Health has been so well confirmd this Winter, as I hear it has been. My Compliments to Mr and Mrs Betham. If that Lady can be engag’d to have an Esteem of Mr Blacklock’s Productions, she wou’d be of great Service in dispersing them. Tho born blin[d], he is not insensible to that Passion, which we foolish People are apt to receive first by th[e] Eyes; and unless a man were both blind and deaf, I do not know how he cou’d be altogether secure of Impressions from Mrs Betham. I am Dear Sir
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/135; Scott 233–5.
Balliol College, Oxford, 20 Mar. 
I should endeavour to make my way to you by an Apology for not having wrote during so long a period as we have been absent from each other, were I not perfectly satisfied That It must be unnecessary. Though I have not heard once from you since we parted, I make very little Doubt that I have been frequently in your Thoughts. I judge so, because amidst all the variety of Objects which have since I may rather say distracted than interested me I have always in my Best Hours of Reflexion, had my Thoughts turned towards you. If you judge by the same Rule, you will not infer from my Silence either Neglect or Forgetfulness; you may very possibly conclude That I have been Giddy, Idle and dissipated and I am afraid with great Truth. The only Merit I can pretend is the being sensible of my Follies, even whilst I was most engaged in them and The having at length made my Escape from Them. You have inquired I dare say sometimes, about me and have very likely been Told, that I was perfectly Idle and followed nothing but pleasure. I have not studied enough to be able to contradict This intirely but I have paid some Attention to the Courts of Law here and have even read a little of My Lord Coke. My acquaintance at London was grown so large and was so much more Engaging than my Business That I could not well carry on both in the same place. I have had Resolution enough to leave Town and am now at your Old habitation Oxford where the Acquaintances I have found are so totally different from those I have left that my Studies run no risk of being much interrupted. It has occurred to me since I came here That on the plan I should wish to pursue, I could make one of the Scotch Exhibitions very serviceable to me. I make no Ceremony in mentioning it To you nor no preamble but That I believe it would be an Advantage to me and That you would be of the same opinion If I had time to lay all the Circumstances before you. One of Them Dr Smith’s must be vacant, soon in course there is another which will in all probability be vacant as the Gentleman is Thought to be in the utmost Hazard, I am sufficiently qualified by my Standing and should have some Friends at Glasgow. Do you Think I should have any Difficulty in getting The Nomination? It is a Thing I would rather wish to be offered than to ask and that at any rate I would not seem to take too much pains upon nor ask with the least chance of a Disappointment. I have not mentioned this to any one but yourself, nor shall I till I hear from you. If It is necessary to prevent a preengagement to take any Step in it, you can best judge; only I should wish to be as little mentioned in it as possible and especially while my Father is not acquainted with my Intentions. I know you don’t love College Business but This I hope can scarcely be an Affair of any Trouble. Believe me My Dear Smith with the same Affection as ever Your Sincere Friend
Shall I hear from you soon.
MS., GUL Gen. 1464/10; Scott 235.
Alloa, 27 Aug. 1754
[Replies to his cousin, Professor Adam Smith, who has asked him to make inquiries on behalf of a friend wishing to purchase an office. Reckons his collectorship is worth ‘above 200 Pounds per ann.’ and does not think he would resign it ‘under ten years purchase’. Has addressed a memorial to the Duke of Argyll about some of his own affairs. Recommends that his cousin take a jaunt into Ayrshire, ‘it will be good for your health and amuse you’.]
Groningen, Oct. 1754
[Ferguson requests Smith to address a reply to him at Rotterdam ] without any clerical titles, for I am a downright layman.
MS., University of Illinois Libr.; unpubl.
Leipzig, 1 Dec. 1754
I wrote last from Groninguen and told you of Mr. Gordons Intention of passing the Winter at this place. The impressions he had got of Groninguen upon the Road woud have made him constantly Dissatisfied at that place, for people sometimes think meanly of themselves at an University of little repute, as in a Coat that is out of Fashion; otherwise I am not well qualified to Judge of the Superiority of this University. There are a great Variety of Professors, and all who have got the Degree of Master of Arts here may advertise a College upon any Branch they please, they have scarcely any Vacations. The publick lectures are in German and Strangers are Obliged to have private lessons in Latin for themselves which make the fees very high. Mr. Gordon attends three in Company with Mr. Abercrombie. The Civil Law, The Law of Nature and Nations, and Modern History, which are rather too many at once, at least they would be so to one who could give application to books and pursue a Point steadily, but that habit is seldom acquired by People in Mr. Gordons Way; he likes very well to hear about matters of Study but what is called Poring, is not much to his mind. I have no trouble in advising him against Irregularitys, and the whole remittances are very safely entrusted to his own management so that you may call me a very happy Governour, provided you will always keep in mind how far the happiness of a Governour mounts. This is not a place of Conversation to me, there may be agreeable people but I have not yet been able to find them out or relish much through the Medium of bad Latin and bad French. I am already of opinion that Learning is very frequent here, but have not met with any Glimmering of Taste, or very elegant Reflexions: but you must consider me as a stranger who may know more hereafter.
A Gentleman passed some days ago in his way from Paris to Berlin, and told some Storys of Mr. Fontenelle : one that he was in Company with a Lady who happend to drop her Fan, he put himself immediatly in motion to take it up, but she prevented him, for he is a hundred years old, upon which he said; Plut a Dieu que Je n’avois que quatre Vingt Ans. Another Lady who it seems had removed lately to his neighbourhood made him a Visit and told him; she expected to see him often for that reason; he replayed that wont be my reason, that will only be my Pretence. I wish you may relish these Bons mots, that come so far as Germany, if not you may make reflections upon the length of time it may take to turn a Frenchman Sour. I saw lately some Smart letters in Manuscript that Passed between Voltaire, and a Church Man of Dignitee in France on account of his Infidelity. They say he is Constantly Complaining of his Health and threatning to Die. A Lady here tells me she saw him in his way from Berlin, and that he caressed one of her Children and said he woud be fond of him even if he had been begotten by Maupertuis. We Lodge here with a Frenchman, who is a little Foolish, for the sake of learning his Language; he has taught French in this Place for some years, he has translated some of Mr. Humes Works into French and has the Title of secretary to the King of Poland, all which is very fine in a Landlord. The King when he has a mind to Flatter a Man cannot give A Title of Nobility but makes many Secretarys and members of the Privy Council. The Nobility waste away here to Nothing; for all the Sons share alike in the Estate and Title; all ranks almost have Voluminous Titles, if you was a Professor at Leipzig instead of Glasgow I shoud have directed my Letter, To his Excellency The most learned & Celebrated &c. I should be sorry to have written all this Idleness to a Man who is not well and I hope to hear you don’t Complain this Winter. Make my Compliments to Mrs. Smith Miss Douglass and other Friends at Glasgow. If Mr. Bagwell and Mr. Reid be at Glasgow my Compliments to Both. I woud write to them if I was quite sure of their being there. Mr. Gordon Joins me in Good Wishes. I am Dear Sir Your most affectionate
MS., RSE ii. 26; HL i. 212–13.
Edinburgh, 17 Dec. 1754
I told you, that I intended to apply to the Faculty for Redress; and if refusd, to throw up the Library. I was assur’d that two of the Curators intended before the Faculty to declare their Willingness to redress me, after which there cou’d be no Difficulty to gain a Victory over the other two. But before the day came, the Dean prevaild on them to change their Resolution, and joind them himself with all his Interest. I saw it then impossible to succeed, and accordingly retracted my Application: But being equally unwilling to lose the Use of the Books and to bear an Indignity; I retain the Office, but have given Blacklock, our blind Poet, a Bond of Annuity for the Sallary. I have now put it out of these malicious Fellows power to offer me any Indignity; while my Motives for remaining in this Office are so apparent. I shou’d be glad that you approve of my Conduct: I own I am satisfy’d with myself.
Pray tell me, and tell me ingenuously, What Success has my History met with among the Judges with you, I mean Dr Cullen, Mr Betham, Mrs Betham, Mr Leechman, Mr Muirhead, Mr Crawford, etc? Dare I presume, that it has been found worthy of Examination, and that its Beauties are found to overballance its Defects? I am very desirous to know my Errors, and I dare swear you think me tolerably docile, to be so veterane an Author. I cannot indeed hope soon to have an Opportunity of correcting my Errors; this Impression is so very numerous. The Sale indeed has been very great in Edinburgh; but how it goes on at London, we have not been precisely inform’d. In all Cases, I am desirous of storing up Instruction, and as you are now idle (I mean, have nothing but your Class to teach: Which to you is comparative Idleness) I will insist upon hearing from you.
Pray tell Mr Crawford, that I sent a Copy to Lord Cathcart, as he desird.
MS., RSE ii. 27; HL i. 216–17.
Edinburgh, 9 Jan. 1755
I beg you to make my Compliments to the Society, and to take the Fault on Yourself, If I have not executed my Duty, and sent them this time my Anniversary Paper. Had I got a Week’s warning, I shou’d have been able to have supply’d them; I shou’d willingly have sent some Sheets of the History of the Commonwealth or Protectorship; but they are all of them out of my hand at present, and I have not been able to recall them.
I think you are extremely in the right, that the Parliaments Bigotry has nothing in common with Hiero’s Generosity. They were themselves violent Persecutors at home to the utmost of their Power. Besides, the Hugonots in France were not persecuted; they were really seditious, turbulent People, whom their King was not able to reduce to Obedience. The French Persecutions did not begin till sixty Years after.
Your Objection to the Irish Massacre is just; but falls not on the Execution but the Subject. Had I been to describe the Massacre of Paris, I should not have fallen into that Fault: But in the Irish Massacre no single eminent Man fell, or by a remarkable Death. If the Elocution of that whole Chapter be blameable, it is because my Conception labord with too great an Idea of my Subject, which is there the most important. But that Misfortune is not unusual. I am Dear Sir
MS., GUA/MS./B/Snell 15626 (draft unsigned); unpubl.
[Glasgow, 14 Feb. 1755]
I am commanded by the University to whom your Graces Letter of the 25th January was communicated, to inform your Grace, that they had, before they received the honor of this last application been solicited by several persons of the greatest distinction in this country particularly by the Earl of Glasgow the Present Rector of the University to allow Mr Anderson to stay abroad another year with Mr Campbell; that, however, upon account of some inconveniencies, which they foresaw might follow from complying with this request, both to the University and to Mr Anderson, they excused themselves from granting it. All the members of the Society being personally known to that Noble Lord made confident that He would pardon want of complaisance in this particular and not impute it to any failure of regard to him by whose condescension in allowing himselfe to be placed at the head of the University [they] think [themselves] highly honoured and obliged. They hoped too that the neighbourhood of that Nobleman and of the other Persons of Distinction who sollicited them to the same purpose, would afford the University many opportunities of expressing the high esteem which it has for that friendship. The Great Distance which separates us from your Grace giving us but few opportunities of expressing the very great veneration which we have for your Graces person, Character and station we cannot avoid even in so small a matter embracing any occasion to assure your grace that no distance can render us insensible of what is due to all of these. Mr Anderson has by order of the University meeting of yesterday obtain’d leave of absence till the 4th. Oct. 1756 which is the whole time desired by Mr Campbell. Be pleased [to] give me leave to assure you that tho’ unknown, I have the honour to be with the highest regard Your Graces
The principal whose indisposition puts it out of his power to write, heartily concurrs in granting the allowance and desires that his most humble compliments should be offered to your Grace
MS., RSE ii. 26; HL i. 245–6.
I have got down a few Copies of my Dissertations lately publish’d at London; and shall send you one by the first Glasgow Waggon. I beg of you to do me the Favor of accepting this Trifle. You have read all the Dissertations in Manuscript; but you will find that on the natural History of Religion somewhat amended in point of Prudence. I do not apprehend, that it will much encrease the Clamour against me.
The Dedication to John Hume you have probably seen: For I find it has been inserted in some of the weekly Papers, both here and in London. Some of my Friends thought it was indiscreet in me to make myself responsible to the Public for the Productions of another: But the Author had lain under such singular and unaccountable Obstructions in his Road to Fame; that I thought it incumbent on his Wellwishers to go as much out of the common Road to assist him. I believe the Composition of the Dedication will be esteemd very prudent; and not inelegant.
I can now give you the Satisfaction of hearing, that the Play, tho’ not near so well acted in Covent Garden as in this Place, is likely to be very successful: Its great intrinsic Merit breaks thro all Obstacles. When it shall be printed (which will be soon) I am perswaded it will be esteem’d the best; and by French Critics, the only Tragedy of our Language. This Encouragement will, no doubt, engage the Author to go on in the same Carrier. He meets with great Countenance in London: And I hope will soon be render’d independant in his Fortune.
Did you ever hear of such Madness and Folly as our Clergy have lately fallen into? For my Part, I expect that the next Assembly will very solemnly pronounce the Sentence of Excommunication against me: But I do not apprehend it to be a Matter of any Consequence. What do you think?
I am somewhat idle at present; and somewhat undetermin’d as to my next Undertaking. Shall I go backwards or forwards in my History? I think you us’d to tell me, that you approvd more of my going backwards. The other would be the more popular Subject; but I am afraid, that I shall not find Materials sufficient to ascertain the Truth; at least, without settling in London: Which I own, I have some Reluctance to. I am settled here very much to my Mind; and wou’d not wish, at my Years, to change the Place of my abode.
I have just now receivd a copy of Douglas from London: It will instantly be put in the Press. I hope to be able to send you a Copy in the same Parcel [with the Dissertations].
Pray why did we not see you this Winter? We shall excuse you for no other Reason but because we hope you were busy. But you must not only have Industry: You must also have Perseverance.
MS., Kress Libr., Harvard University; unpubl.
Glasgow College, 7 Sept. 1757
I take the liberty to write to you at the desire of a very old friend to sollicit a favour of you which I am by no means sure but it may be improper for you to grant, and which I am afraid it is still more improper for me to ask. Mr. John Currie, a Gentleman who I understand has been recommended to you by John Hume, is an old Schoolfellow of mine and a very worthy Clergyman of more learning than is common. He has had the imprudence to make a love marriage with a young Lady, a cousin of mine for whom I have always had a very high regard, but who had not a single shilling to her fortune. He is at present only helper to his father and as their family is encreasing you may believe their circumstances are far from being easy. One Preston the Minister of Mankinch dyed about ten days ago; The presentation is in the Gift of the Crown. Could you with any propriety apply for it to this worthy man? I am sensible how little title I have to ask anything of this kind of you, but the urgency of this Gentlemans situation has forced me to get over all scruples. I am sure if I could tell his case fully to Mrs. Murray she would heartily join me in the Application.
I have no news of any consequence with regard to your friends in this country. Your English friends are here in the highest degree of Popularity and reputation. The Lincolnshire mobs provoke our severest indignation for opposing the militia, and we hope to hear that the ringleaders are all to be hanged. I heartily beg your Pardon for my forwardness in making this application and am notwithstanding with the greatest respect as well as affection your most Obedient
MS., NLS SB 88 (1757); unpubl.
Glasgow, Oct. 1757
Tho’ I have not the honour to be known to your Lordship, I am obliged to take the Liberty to write to you at the very earnest desire of my friend Mr. Wilkie. As soon as we received your Lordships Letter I carried it to Mr. Clow who assured me that he was yet entirely disengaged, expressed the highest opinion of Mr. Wilkie and desired to be made acquainted with him, but seemed to regard your Letter rather as a permission to go on to make friends to Mr. Wilkie than a direct recommendation. Mr. Leechman to whom I showd it immediately after, assured me that he should be extremely sorry if he was obliged to prefer Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Wilkie, that one was much more conspicuous than the other, but that however he could in the mean time give the new proposal no direct encouragement, that My Lord Buchan had two letters from him in which he had expressed himselfe in favour of Mr. Buchanan, But that in these letters he had made his promise rowl entirely upon the Duke of Argylls recommending him. He seemed heartily to wish however that our scheme might succeed and that his Grace would provide for Mr. Buchanan in some other way. Mr. Anderson assured me that he would give a considerable sum of money that Mr. Wilkie should succeed, but that he had promised the rector to vote for Mr. Buchanan in the second Place upon the Rectors agreeing to vote for him in the first. Mr. Lindsey expressed the highest regard for Mr. Wilkie, approved of the scheme of his friends, but was hindered from doing any thing to forward it by an old personal friendship with Mr. Buchanan. Mr. Simson I have not spoke to myselfe but hear from Dr. Black that he thinks himselfe not absolutely engaged to Mr. Buchanan. These with the four who recommended Mr. Wilkie to your Lordship are all the members of our society at present in Scotland. Six of them make a majority. If his Grace could be induced to recommend it himselfe either to Mr. Clow or to Mr. Simson or what would be still better, to both, I am persuaded it would succeed very easily. Mr. Clow will, I imagine, regard the Distinction as a very great honour and will exert himselfe to the utmost to second his Graces recommendation. As soon as a majority goes into it, I am sure that the whole society will declare their approbation of it and rejoice at its success. I cannot express to your Lordship how much the Public, both here and at Edinburgh, is interested in Mr. Wilkies success. Your Lordship, I hope, will have the thanks of the whole country in general, and of our society in Particular for your generous patronage of a man whom we regard as undoubtedly the first Poet as well as one of the most eminent Philosophers of the Present age. If his Grace should decline writing himselfe, a letter from your Lordship in his name to the two Gentlemen I mentioned above and to any others you thought proper, would I am persuaded be sufficient. The other however would still be surer. Whatever it may appear proper to do in this affair I begg it may be done soon for the sake of the whole society that all appearance of Discord may be at an end among us, of which at least some of us are very heartily tired. I can make no other apology for troubling your Lordship with so long a letter but that it is to serve a man for whom you have expressed some esteem, and who has the utmost gratitude for the Protection you have already afforded him, as well as the highest admiration for your character in respect. I am with the greatest respect
Docketed: Professor Adam Smith, Glasgow, Oct. 1757.
MS., RSE ii. 29; HL i. 279–80.
8 June 1758
I sit down to write to you along with Johnstone, and as we have been talking over the Matter, it is probable we shall employ the same Arguments. As he is the younger Lawyer, I leave him to open the Case; and suppose that you have read his Letter first. We are certain, that the Settlement of you here and of Ferguson at Glasgow would be perfectly easy by Lord Miltons Interest. The Prospect of prevailing with Abercrombie is also very good: For the same Statesman, by his Influence over the Town Council, cou’d oblige him either to attend, which he never woud do, or dispose of the Office for the Money which he gave for it. The only real Difficulty is then with you. Pray then consider, that this is perhaps the only Opportunity we shall ever have of getting you to Town: I dare swear, that you think the Difference of Place is worth paying something for; and yet it will really cost you nothing. You made above 100 Pound a Year by your Class when in this Place, tho’ you had not the Character of Professor: We cannot suppose that it will be less than 130 after you are settled. John Stevenson; and it is John Stevenson, makes near 150; as we were inform’d upon Enquiry. Here is 100 Pounds a Year for 8 Years Purchase; which is a cheap Purchase, even considerd as the way of a Bargain. We flatter ourselves that you rate our Company as something; and the Prospect of settling Ferguson will be an additional Inducement. For tho’ we think of making him take up the Project if you refuse it, yet it is uncertain whether he will consent; and it is attended in his Case with many very obvious Objections. I beseech you therefore to weigh all these Motives over again; The alteration of these Circumstances merit that you shoud put the matter again in Deliberation. I had a Letter from Miss Hepburn, where she regrets very much, that you are settled at Glasgow, and that we had the Chance of seeing you so seldom. I am
Lord Milton can with his Finger, stop the foul Mouths of all the Roarers against Heresy.
MS., Pierpont Morgan Libr., New York; Scott 236.
Glasgow, 19 Aug. 1758
I am much obliged to you for your attention in mentioning me to Mr. Elliot: I have the greatest desire to see him but have been looking in the map and find Minto above three score mortal miles from Glasgow the nearest way that I can go to it. This abates my ardor a good deal. However I shall take the affair ad avisandum.
I send you enclosed a portion of a letter I received last night from Captain Gordon; it is of an early date, but it had come under cover to another Gentleman who was out of the way. It is [n]ot what I expected. I had told him that we might make a demand upon him for one or two hundred pounds, and tho he gives me here an unlimited commision we must not abuse Generosity, but confine our demand to a sum within the largest of the two; and the more within it the better. Show this letter to John Hume and if you can too to James Russel; and let me know by next post if possible what sum will be wanted from him. I ever am,
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/136; Scott 239–40.
London, 14 Nov. 1758
I have of late had a good deal of conversation with Lord Fitsmorris about the education of his Brother who is now at Eaton, and I believe about fifteen or sixteen years of age: He thinks his Brother too young to go abroad, and as he left Oxford himself about two years ago, has no sort of inclination to send him to that University: After stating to him as well as I coud the nature of our Universitys and the advantage I thought his Brother might draw from being put under your direction, he came to a resolution of adviscing his Father Lord Shelburn to follow that course: his Lordship has agreed to it, and I have undertaken to open it to you, and to learn as soon as possible whether it be agreeable to you to undertake the charge: Lord Shelburn has an immence estate, and can afford if he pleases to settle ten thousand a year upon his second Son without at all hurting Lord Fitsmorris, he tells me he will not spare money, but did not wish the boy shoud be indulged in too great an expence, which I am afraid has hitherto been the case: He proposes that he shoud be in your house and intirely under your direction, and to give you for his board and the inspection of his education a hundred pound a year, or more if it shoud be thought proper. I understand he is a very good school Scholar, very lively, and tolerably ungovernable, but probably will not give you much trouble, as you will have the total charge and direction without any controul. If you have no objection to taking him into your house, he will come to you immediately, as Lord Fitsmorris tells me he may probably take that opportunity of runing over Scotland, paying a visit to Lord Dunmore, and puting his Brother upon a proper foot: I think myself that a young man of this rank coming to your University may of be of advantage to it, especially as I find every thinking man here begins to discover the very absurd constitution of the English Universitys, without knowing what to do better: It is indeed possible, that Oxford may a little recover itself, by having lately established there, a Professor for the common, constitutional law of the Kingdom, and also admitted Masters for some of the exercises, which two last articles have some connection at least with the occupations of ordinary life, and I can hardly say so much for the usual academical Institutions; little adapted for the improvement of young men either of rank or liberal views: I have very little doubt, but you might even draw a good many of the youth of this part of the world to pass a winter or two at Glasgow, notwithstanding the distance and disadvantage of the dialect, provided that to your real advantages you were to add the best Masters for the exercises, and also for acquiring the french language; an accomplishment indispensably necessary, and which cannot be acquired either at Eaton or Westminster, tho’ all children male and female bred in their Fathers houses are regularly taught both to speak and write french with tolerable facility. Pray let me have your answer as soon as possible; is your book in the press, or will it be there soon? belive Dear Sir
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 241–2.
Glasgow College, 21 Feb. 1759
I give you the trouble of This Letter, tho I have nothing particular to inform you of besides what I told you in my last, that Mr Fitzmaurice attends all his classes with the most exact punctuality and gives more application to his studies than could reasonably be expected. I find him perfectly tractable and docile in every respect and I heartily wish that we may give the same satisfaction to him which he gives to all of us. I find he is so far advanced in the Greek language that it will not be difficult to carry him on and if he continues to be as regular as at present, I believe, I can promise, that against this time twelve–month he will be able to read it with ease. He masters all that he is about at present so easily that I intend in about a month hence he should begin to learn Algebra and Arithmetic with the Proffessor of Mathematics.
This country is so barren of all sorts of transactions that can interest anybody that lives at a distance from it that little entertainment is to be expected from any correspondence on this Side the tweed. Our epistles to our friends at the capital commonly consist more in enquiries than in information. I must therefore put your Lordship in mind of the promise you was so good as to make to me of some times letting me hear from you of what passes in the Great World, either at home or abroad. I hear there is no faction in parliament, which I am glad of. For tho’ a little faction now and then gives spirit to the nation the continuance of it obstructs all public business and puts it out of the power of [the] best Minister to do much good. Even Sir Robert Walpoles administration would, I imagine have been better had it not been for the violence of the opposition that was made to him, which in its beginnings had no great foundation. There is at present so little noise made about our own affairs that the Portuguese Conspiracy takes up a good part of the attention of this part of the world. I see this day in the newspapers an abstract of the evidence or rather of the facts for which these unhappy noblemen have been condemned. In the end of it they found a great deal upon the presumptions of law which were against them which, as no other evidence is particularly specified, makes me fear that this horrid execution has been a little precipitate. For want of some thing else to write to your Lordship I am obliged to talk to you of subjects you must not only know much better than I, but which you must be quite sick of.
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 243–4.
Glasgow, 10 Mar. 1759
I have been very much out of my Duty in having so long neglected to write to your Lordship who have trusted me with so very important a charge as the Education of Mr Fitzmaurice. I waited till I could say something to your Lordship with regard to what I expected of him which might be depended upon, and I can now venture to assure your Lordship that the fault ought to be laid to my charge if he does not turn out at least an uncommonly good Scholar. There is not a poor boy in the college who is supported by charity and studies for bread that is more punctual in his attendance upon every part of College discipline. He attends different Masters for Greek, Latin and Philosophy five hours a day, and is besides employ’d with me at home between two and three hours, in going over the subjects of those different lectures. He reads too every day some thing by himself and a good deal on Saturdays and Sundays when he has most leisure. He has never yet missed a Single hour, except two days that he was ill of a very voilent Cholic, occasioned by cold and I suspect by the want of his usual exercise, which, I find, was very violent at Eton, and for which he has at present no leisure. It was with the greatest difficulty that I could keep him at home for those two days. He is perfectly sober, eats no supper, or what is next to none, a roasted apple or some such trifle and drinks scarce any thing but water. There is the more merit in this part of his conduct as it is the effect of Resolution not of habit: for I find he had been accustomed to a different way of living at Eton: But your Lordships and My Lady Shelburnes good advice has, I understand, produced this change. I can assure your Lordship that I have conversed with him for these two months with the greatest intimacy and that I find him every way agreeable; full of spirit and sensibility; two qualities which are very rarely joined together. I have a great deal more to say to your Lordship, but an unexpected call obliges me to conclude this letter abruptly. I shall write to your Lordship again by next at greater length. I had delayed writing so long that I was ashamed to delay it any longer, so snatched the first quarter of an hour which business of this [?kind] afforded me to scrawl this Letter
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 243–5.
Glasgow College, 4 Apr. 1759.
I did myselfe the honour to write to your Lordship some time ago and promised to write more distinctly by next post. It was not in my Power to keep my word. A slight indisposition which has hung about me ever since, joined to a multiplicity of business which several accidents have conspired to bring upon me, have kept me either so exhausted or so hurried that till this moment I have not had one hour in which I had both leisure and spirits to sit down to write to your Lordship.
I have nothing to add to what I said to your Lordship in my Last letter concerning Mr Fitzmaurices behaviour here. It has hitherto been altogether unexceptionable.
With regard to the Plan which I would propose for his education while he continues here; he will finish his Philosophical studies next winter; and as My Lord Fitzmaurice seemed to propose that he should stay here another year after that, I would propose that it should be employed in perfecting himselfe in Philosophy and the Languages, but chiefly and principally in the Study of Law and history. In that year I would advise him to attend the Lectures of the Professor of Civil Law: for tho’ the civil law has no authority in the English courts, the study of it is an admirable preparation for the Study of the English Law. The civil Law is digested into a more regular System than the English Law has yet been, and tho’ the Principles of the former are in many respects different from those of the latter, yet there are many principles common to both, and one who has studied the civil law at least knows what a System of law is, what parts it consist of, and how these ought to be arranged: so that when he afterwards comes to study the law of any other country which is not so well digested, he carries at least the Idea of a System in his head and knows to what part of it he ought to refer every thing that he reads. While he attends the lectures of the Proffessor of Civil Law, I shall read with him myselfe an institute of the feudal law, which is the foundation of the present laws and Government of all European Nations.
In order to have him immediately under my own eye I have hurried him a little in his Philosophical studies. I have made him pass the logic class, which ought regularly to have been his first study, and brought him at once into my own, the moral Philosophy. He attends however the lectures of the Proffessor of Logic one hour a day. This, with two hours that he attends upon my Lectures, with one hour which he gives to the Professor of Mathematics, one hour to the Proffessor of Greek and another to that of Latin, makes his hours which he attends every day except Saturday and Sunday to be six in all. He has never yet missed a single hour, and in the evening and the morning goes over very regularly with me the business of those different classes. I chuse rather to oppress him with business for this first winter: It keeps him constantly employed and leaves no time for Idleness. The oppression too is not so great as it may seem. The Study of Greek and latin is not at all new to him: Logic requires little attention so that moral philosophy and mathematicks are the only studies which take up much of his time. The great vigour both of mind and body with which he seems to be peculiarly blessed makes every thing easy to him. We have one holiday in the month which he has hitherto constantly chosen of his own accord to employ rather in learning something which he had missed by being too late in coming to the College, than in diversion.
The College breaks up in the beginning of June and does not sit down again till the beginning of October. During this interval I propose that he should learn french and Dancing and fencing and that besides he should read with me the best greek, latin and french Authors on Moral Philosophy for two or three hours every morning, so that he will not be idle in the vacation. The Proffessor of Mathematics too proposes to teach him Euclid at that time as he was too late to learn it in the Class. That Gentleman, who is now turned seventy but preserves all the gaiety and vigour of youth, takes more pains upon Mr Fitzmaurice than I ever knew him to do upon any Person, and generally gives him a private lecture twice or thrice a week. This is purely the effect of personal liking, for no other consideration is capable of making Mr Simson give up his ease.
I make Mr Fitzmaurice pay all his own accounts after he has summed and examin’d them along with me. He gives me a receipt for whatever money he receives: in the receipt he marks the purpose for which it is to be applyed and preserves the account as his voucher, marking upon the back of it the day when it was payed. These shall all be transmitted to your Lordship when there is occasion: But as My Lord Fitzmaurice left fifty Pounds here I shall have no occasion to make any demand for some time.
Your Lordship may depend upon the most religious complyance with whatever commands you shall please to lay upon me with regard to the conduct or Education of Mr Fitzmaurice.
I have been lately made to flatter myselfe with the Pleasure and Honour of seeing your Lordship in Scotland this summer. It would give the greatest satisfaction both to Mr Fitzmaurice and me. Your Lordship would then see with your own eyes in what manner he was employed and could judge better how far it was necessary either to increase or diminish the quantity of work which is now imposed upon him.
We are no Strangers in this country to the very noble and generous work which your Lordship has been employed in in Ireland. We have in Scotland some noblemen whose estates extend from the east to the west sea, who call themselves improvers, and are called so by their countrymen, when they cultivate two or three hundred acres round their own family seat while they allow all the rest of their country to lie waste, almost uninhabited and entirely unimproved, not worth a shilling the hundred acres, without thinking themselves answerable to God, their country and their Posterity for so shameful as well as so foolish a neglect. Your Lordship, I hear, is not of that opinion, and tho’ you are not negligent either of the elegance or magnificence of your country Villas, you do not think that any attention of that kind dispenses with the more noble and important duty of attempting to introduce arts, industry and independency into a miserable country, which has hitherto been a stranger to them all. Nothing, I have often imagined, would give more pleasure to Sir William Petty, your Lordship’s ever honoured ancestor, than to see his representative pursuing a Plan so suitable to his own Ideas which are generally equally wise and public spirited.
Believe me to be with the greatest respect
MS., NLS Acc. 776 (Robertson Papers); NHL 51–5.
Lisle Street, Leicester Fields, 12 Apr. 1759
I give you thanks for the agreeable Present of your Theory Wedderburn and I made Presents of our Copies to such of our Acquaintance as we thought good Judges, and proper to spread the Reputation of the Book. I sent one to the Duke of Argyle, to Lord Lyttleton, Horace Walpole, Soames Jennyns, and Burke, an Irish Gentleman, who wrote lately a very pretty Treatise on the Sublime. Millar desird my Permission to send one in your Name to Dr Warburton. I have delayd writing to you till I cou’d tell you something of the Success of the Book, and coud prognosticate with some Probability whether it shoud be finally damnd to Oblivion, or shoud be registerd in the Temple of Immortality. Tho’ it has been publishd only a few Weeks, I think there appear already such strong Symptoms, that I can almost venture to fortell its Fate. It is in short this— — But I have been interrupted in my Letter by a foolish impertinent Visit of one who has lately come from Scotland. He tells me, that the University of Glasgow intend to declare Rouets Office Vacant upon his going abroad with Lord Hope. I question not but you will have our Friend, Ferguson, in your Eye, in case another Project for procuring him a Place in the University of Edinburgh shou’d fail. Ferguson has very much polishd and improved his Treatise on Refinement, and with some Amendments it will make an admirable Book, and discovers an elegant and a singular Genius. The Epigoniad, I hope, will do; but it is somewhat up–hill Work. As I doubt not but you consult the Reviews sometimes at present, you will see in the critical Review a Letter upon that Poem; and I desire you to employ your Conjectures in finding out the Author. Let me see a Sample of your Skill in knowing hands by your guessing at the Person. I am afraid of Lord Kaims’s Law Tracts. A man might as well think of making a fine Sauce by a Mixture of Wormwood and Aloes as an agreeable Composition by joining Metaphysics and Scotch Law. However, the Book, I believe, has Merit; tho’ few People will take the Pains of diving into it. But to return to your Book, and its Success in this Town, I must tell you — — A Plague of Interruptions! I orderd myself to be deny’d; and yet here is one that has broke in upon me again. He is a man of Letters, and we have had a good deal of literary Conversation. You told me, that you was curious of literary Anecdotes, and therefore I shall inform you of a few, that have come to my Knowledge. I believe I have mentioned to you already Helvetius’s Book de l’Esprit. It is worth your Reading, not for its Philosophy, which I do not highly value, but for its agreeable Composition. I had a Letter from him a few days ago, wherein he tells me that my Name was much oftener in the Manuscript, but that the Censor of Books at Paris oblig’d him to strike it out. Voltaire has lately publishd a small Work calld Candide, ou L’optimisme. It is full of Sprightliness and Impiety, and is indeed a Satyre upon Providence, under Pretext of criticizing the Leibnitian System. I shall give you a Detail of it— —But what is all this to my Book? say you. —My Dear Mr Smith, have Patience: Compose yourself to Tranquillity: Show yourself a Philosopher in Practice as well as Profession: Think on the Emptiness, and Rashness, and Futility of the common Judgements of Men: How little they are regulatd by Reason in any Subject, much more in philosophical Subjects, which so far exceed the Comprehension of the Vulgar. Non si quid improba Roma, Elevet, accedas examenque improbum in illa, Perpendas trutina, nec te quaesiveris extra. A wise man’s Kingdom is his own Breast: Or, if he ever looks farther, it will only be to the Judgement of a select few, who are free from Prejudices, and capable of examining his Work. Nothing indeed can be a stronger Presumption of Falshood than the Approbation of the Multitude; and Phocion, you know, always suspected himself of some Blunder, when he was attended with the Applauses of the Populace.
Supposing, therefore, that you have duely prepard yourself for the worst by all these Reflections; I proceed to tell you the melancholy News, that your Book has been very unfortunate: For the Public seem disposd to applaud it extremely. It was lookd for by the foolish People with some Impatience; and the Mob of Literati are beginning already to be very loud in its Praises. Three Bishops calld yesterday at Millar’s Shop in order to buy Copies, and to ask Questions about the Author: The Bishop of Peterborough said he had passd the Evening in a Company, where he heard it extolld above all Books in the World. You may conclude what Opinion true Philosophers will entertain of it, when these Retainers to Superstition praise it so highly. The Duke of Argyle is more decisive than he uses to be in its Favour: I suppose he either considers it as an Exotic, or thinks the Author will be serviceable to him in the Glasgow Elections. Lord Lyttleton says, that Robertson and Smith and Bower are the Glories of English Literature. Oswald protests he does not know whether he has reap’d more Instruction or Entertainment from it: But you may easily judge what Reliance can be put on his Judgement, who has been engagd all his Life in public Business and who never sees any Faults in his Friends. Millar exults and brags that two thirds of the Edition are already sold, and that he is now sure of Success. You see what a Son of the Earth that is, to value Books only by the Profit they bring him. In that View, I believe it may prove a very good Book.
Charles Townsend, who passes for the cleverest Fellow in England, is so taken with the Performance, that he said to Oswald he wou’d put the Duke of Buccleugh under the Authors Care, and woud endeavour to make it worth his while to accept of that Charge. As soon as I heard this, I calld on him twice with a View of talking with him about the Matter, and of convincing him of the Propriety of sending that young Nobleman to Glasgow: For I coud not hope, that he coud offer you any Terms, which woud tempt you to renounce your Professorship: But I missd him. Mr Townsend passes for being a little uncertain in his Resolutions; so perhaps you need not build much on this Sally.
In recompense for so many mortifying things, which nothing but Truth coud have extorted from me, and which I coud easily have multiply’d to a greater Number; I doubt not but you are so good a Christian as to return good for evil and to flatter my Vanity, by telling me, that all the Godly in Scotland abuse me for my Account of John Knox and the Reformation etc. I suppose you are glad to see my Paper end, and that I am obligd to conclude with
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/138; Scott 245–8.
Dublin, 26 Apr. 1759
I have lately received your letter of the 4th inst; your former of the 10th of March, came also to my hands in due time. I can not sufficiently express my Satisfaction at the account you give me of my Son, now under your care; the description you make of him, convinces me of your power of looking into him, so does the Scheme you chalk out for the prosecution of his Studies, convince me of your judgment; Every thing confirms that you merit that Character which made me wish so much that you should take the Charge of him upon you, and, if I mistake you not, I shall make you much amends by assuring you, that the more I reflect on the Situation he is in, the more I am happy; so much so, and so satisfied both of your Ability and Inclination to do him Service, that I must refuse the request you make, that I shou’d point out what I wish to have done, I can point out nothing, I can only approve of what you mean to do. The great fault I find with Oxford and Cambridge, is that Boys sent thither instead of being the Governed, become the Governors of the Colleges, and that Birth and Fortune there are more respected than Literary Merit; I flatter’d myself that it was not so at Glasgow, and your commendation of my Son’s conformity to the Discipline of the place he is in, persuades me that you think as I do, that no greater Service can be done in leading to Manhood, than to confirm Youth, by long practice, in the habit of Obedience; a power of adopting the Will of another, will make one Master of one’s own. Oeconomy seems likewise to have a just place in your attention; No fortune is able to do without it, nor can any man be Charitable, Generous or Just who neglects it, it will make a man happy under Slender Circumstances, and make him Shine if his Income be Affluent. Your Pupil comes into the World a sort of an Adventurer, intitl’d to nothing, and will, if I may venture to prophesy concerning him, have more in proportion as his own wants are few. I wish him train’d to Need little, not for the purpose of Accumulating, but in order to enable him to Give more. The Building which is to be rais’d by Him, on the foundation that I am laying, is what I can not hope to see, and what I trust, and do believe, I shall not be troubled about, when my power to interpose shall cease; I wish him therefore to be convinc’d, that it is His happiness and not my own, that I have in view. I wish him to become an honest and a Benevolent man; I wish him Punctual and Sober; a lover of Method, and so skill’d in Figures and the businesses of Life, as by Assisting me in my latter days, he may make me rejoice at my Labours in his early ones.
Perhaps it is not yet the Season of procuring for him some Instruction to mend his hand–writing, but it is what he will want, and what he is capable of receiving, for when he writes with care, he does it in a manner that makes me think him capable of writing well. His Genius I have thought, Open to everything, his perception of Images and of Lines express’d on paper, was in the earliest part of his life, quick and clear; this makes me hope that the Study of Euclid, which you intend for him, will be of profit and not above his reach, it is, in my mind, a far better teacher of Reasoning than Logic is. If his Idleness and Volatility can be overcome, Mathematicks in general I fancy will be agreeable to him, and from a turn that he has to Mechanicks, the Experimental parts of Natural Philosophy will I am sure be a great delight to him. I mention these things, only to convince you that I have him and his future happiness at heart, and if he shall not turn out such as his Talents are equal to, be assur’d that I shall not be the more doubtful of, or the less thankful for your Endeavours.
The time of my Son’s stay at Glasgow, is by no means limited as you seem to think from what his Elder brother told you; I wish him to stay so long as You, Sir, can endure him under your Eye, and so long as he shall continue worthy of your Attention; for my part, having no view to anything but his Improvement, nor any use to make of him until he shall be perfect in those things which I only know how to Admire, but not how to Teach, I shall rejoice at the length of his Absence from me, being much of opinion that great Evils arise by suffering Boys to become Men too soon. A knowledge in the Civil Law, is the best foundation he can have to introduce him to that of his own Country, the Study of it may make him Wise, but it is upon Your Precepts and Example in Morality, that I depend for making him Happy.
I can hardly flatter myself with the hope of seeing Scotland this Summer, but I think of a jaunt thither with much pleasure.
You make me very vain by approving so much my endeavours to make a part of this Country happier than I found it, if I succeed I shall make myself so; I shall be glad that Good is done how little hand soever I may have in doing it, in the present case a very Slender share of praise is to fall to my Lot, the truth is, that my Property is so scatter’d, and my Avocations from Every place so frequent, that I cou’d only have Imagin’d the Work you have heard of, but cou’d not possibly have brought it to a likelyhood of perfection, were it not for the great and able aid I received from my friend Dr. Henry. This Gentleman has had his Education in your University, tho’ a Native of this Country; it is an honour to Glasgow to have train’d up one of a Spirit so Great and so Disinterested as his in doing good to Mankind; the burthen of my late work has been borne by him, and so ought the praise, if any it shall deserve; it is a pleasure to me to give this just Character of him, to one of your merit; your pupil will be glad, I hope, to hear that his friend Dr. Henry continues both to deserve and acquire the Esteem of Everybody; I pray you to assure him of my Love, and to believe me to be with much Esteem, Sir
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/137; Scott 238.
London, 26 Apr. 1759
Presented of Mr Smiths Theory of Moral Sentiments in half binding.
Earl of Bute —Earl of Hardwicke —Dr Markham —Mr Selwyn —Earl of Shelburne—Lord Mansfield —Mr Hume—Lord Lyttelton—Dr Warburton—Mr Elliot—Mr Wedderburn—Mr Jennings —Duke of Argyle—Mr Walpole—Mr Burke—Dr Birch —Charles Townshend Esq.—Mr Solicitor General
I received the errata which are printed, and I made 1/2 Sheet of Contents, which makes the whole book 34 Sheets a Cheap 6s: volume bound especially considering the Matter which I am sure is excellent.
The above 18 copys have been delivered by the order of Messrs Hume, Wedderburn and John Dalrymple. I think of 2 more to the Authors of the Reviews, which will make £20. I Propose 10 of them in a Present to you, and the other is to be charged 2, the price to Booksellers taking a number, as they were only delivered to the Persons in blue Papers and boards. So the 3d of the differences is to be by Kincaid and Bell paid you and the other 2.3ds of the copy right by me.
Mr Rose at Kew whom Rouet knows well took 25 copys to dispose amongst his friends, that I have no Sort of doubt of this Impression being Soon gone tho’ it will not be published till next Week, before which I shall Ship Mr Kincaid which I hope will Sail next week with convoy. Mrs Millar desired to Join with me in our kind remembrance of your Mother, yourself and all friends and I am
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/139; Scott 238–9.
Edinburgh, 14 June 
Our friend John Home arrived here from London two days ago. Tho’ I dare say you have heard of the good reception of the Theory from [m]any different people, I must acquaint you with the intelligence Home brings. He assures me that it is in the hands of all persons of the best fashion; that it meets with great approbation both on account of the matter and stile; and that it is impossible for any book on so serious a subject to be received in a more gracious manner. It comforts the English a good deal to hear that you were bred at Oxford, they claim some part of you on that account. Home joins with me in insisting that your next work shall be on some subject less abstruse. I still wish you would think on the History of Philosophy. I write this in great haste, as Johnstone is waiting me that we may go to walk. When shall we see you in town. I ever am
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 248–9.
Glasgow College, 23 July 1759
It must give everybody the greatest pleasure to serve your Lordship, when you express so agreeably your satisfaction with every attempt of this kind, and I must return your Lordship the thanks of the University for your goodness in recommending it as a proper place of Education for the Children of your friend Sir John Colthurst.
The expense of board in the common boarding houses is from five to eight Pounds per quarter for each person. The expense of washing is not included in this; the ordinary rate of which is at 1 sh. 10d per Dozen. The expence of Masters fees will probably amount to eight or ten Guineas for each Person. There are, besides, some other College dues which, however, will not upon the whole amount to twenty shillings per annum for each Person. Their linnen ought to be sent from Ireland where it is both cheaper and better than here. A suit of plain Cloaths of the finest cloth may be had for about five Pounds. These are all the necessary expenses which any Gentlemans son has occasion to be at while he attends upon this University. What the unnecessary expenses may be, it is impossible for me to determine. These will depend upon the young gentlemen themselves, upon the habits they have been bred up in and the injunctions that are laid upon them. Your Lordship may depend upon every attention which it can be in my power to give to whoever has the honour of being so nearly connected with your Lordships family: and I shall endeavour to settle them in such a manner that I can have as exact an account of their conduct as if they were in my own house. If I am not mistaken Mr Fitzmaurice shewed me some time last winter two letters that had been written by these two young gentlemen to your Lordship. I was greatly pleased with them as marking the sobriety, modesty and innocence of their manners; so that I have no fear of the behaviour of those who appear to have been so properly educated.
With regard to Mr Fitzmaurice his conduct is in every respect as regular as ever. I was obliged to go into Edinburgh about a month ago, when I carried him along with me. This relaxation, which lasted about a fortnight, had no other effect than to serve as a short vacation to him. The day after he returned he began the same course of life which he had practised before without being at all dissipated by the amusements of Edinburgh. While he was there, indeed, he entered fully into them and I think did not miss any one public diversion, which led him into a little more expence than I expected. As this, however, is all the vacation which he will have, I did not grudge it him nor think it necessary to check him.
I will begg your Lordship to offer my complements, tho’ unknown to Dr Henry. I was no stranger to his character before the very honourable and generous mention which your Lordship was pleased to make of him in your letter to me. Mr Fitzmaurice shewed me last winter a letter from him which gave me an impression of his character which exactly corresponded with what your Lordship was pleased to say of him. I am with the greatest respect My Lord,
MS., RSE ii. 30; HL i. 311–14.
London, 28 July 1759
Your Friend, Mr Wilson, calld on me two or three days ago when I was abroad, and he left your Letter: I did not see him till to day. He seems a very modest, sensible, ingenious Man. Before I saw him, I spoke to A. Millar about him, and found him very much dispos’d to serve him. I proposd particularly to Mr Millar, that it was worthy of so eminent a Bookseller as he to make a compleat elegant Set of the Classics, which might set up his Name equal to the Alduses, Stevens, or Elzivirs; and that Mr Wilson was the properest Person in the World to assist him in such a Project. He confest to me, that he had sometimes thought of it; but that his great Difficulty was to find a Man of Letters, who cou’d correct the Press. I mentioned the Matter to Wilson, who said he had a Man of Letters in his Eye; one Lyon, a nonjuring Clergyman at Glasgow. He is probably known to you, or at least may be so: I wou’d desire your Opinion of him.
Mr Wilson told me of his Machines, which seem very ingenious, and deserve much Encouragement. I shall soon see them.
I am very well acquainted with Bourke, who was much taken with your Book. He got your Direction from me with a View of writing to you, and thanking you for your Present: For I made it pass in your Name. I wonder he has not done it: He is now in Ireland. I am not acquainted with Jennyns; but he spoke very highly of the Book to Oswald, who is his Brother in the Board of Trade. Millar show’d me a few days ago a Letter from Lord Fitzmaurice; where he tells him, that he had carryd over a few Copies to the Hague for Presents. Mr Yorke was much taken with it as well as several others who had read it.
I am told that you are preparing a new Edition, and propose to make some Additions and Alterations, in order to obviate Objections. I shall use the Freedom to propose one, which, if it appears to be of any Weight, you may have in your Eye. I wish you had more particularly and fully prov’d, that all kinds of Sympathy are necessarily Agreeable. This is the Hinge of your System, and yet you only mention the Matter cursorily in p. 20. Now it woud appear that there is a disagreeable Sympathy, as well as an agreeable: And indeed, as the Sympathetic Passion is a reflex Image of the principal, it must partake of its Qualities, and be painful where that is so. Indeed, when we converse with a man with whom we can entirely sympathize, that is, where there is a warm and intimate Friendship, the cordial openness of such a Commerce overpowers the Pain of a disagreeable Sympathy, and renders the whole Movement agreeable. But in ordinary Cases, this cannot have place. An ill–humord Fellow; a man tir’d and disgusted with every thing, always ennuié; sickly, complaining, embarass’d; such a one throws an evident Damp on Company, which I suppose wou’d be accounted for by Sympathy; and yet is disagreeable.
It is always thought a difficult Problem to account for the Pleasure, receivd from the Tears and Grief and Sympathy of Tragedy; which woud not be the Case, if all Sympathy was agreeable. An Hospital woud be a more entertaining Place than a Ball. I am afraid that in p. 99 and 111 this Proposition has escapd you, or rather is interwove with your Reasonings in that place. You say expressly, it is painful to go along with Grief and we always enter into it with Reluctance. It will probably be requisite for you to modify or explain this Sentiment, and reconcile it to your System.
My Dear Mr Smith; You must not be so much engross’d with your own Book, as never to mention mine. The Whigs, I am told, are anew in a Rage against me; tho’ they know not how to vent themselves: For they are constrain’d to allow all my Facts. You have probably seen Hurd’s Abuse of me. He is of the Warburtonian School; and consequently very insolent and very scurrilous; but I shall never reply a word to him. If my past Writings do not sufficiently prove me to be no Jacobite, ten Volumes in folio never would.
I signd yesterday an Agreement with Mr Millar; where I mention that I proposed to write the History of England from the Beginning till the Accession of Henry the VII; and he engages to give me 1400 Pounds for the Copy. This is the first previous Agreement ever I made with a Bookseller. I shall execute this Work at Leizure, without fatiguing myself by such ardent Application as I have hitherto employd. It is chiefly as a Ressource against Idleness, that I shall undertake this Work: For as to Money, I have enough: And as to Reputation, what I have wrote already will be sufficient, if it be good: If not, it is not likely I shall now write better. I found it impracticable (at least fancy’d so) to write the History since the Revolution. I am in doubt whether I shall stay here and execute the Work; or return to Scotland, and only come up here to consult the Manuscripts. I have several Inducements on both Sides. Scotland suits my Fortune best, and is the Seat of my principal Friendships; but it is too narrow a Place for me, and it mortifies me that I sometimes hurt my Friends. Pray write me your Judgement soon. Are the Bigots much in Arms on account of this last Volume? Robertson’s Book has great Merit; but it was visible that he profited here by the Animosity against me. I suppose the Case was the same with you. I am
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 249–50.
Glasgow College, 31 Aug. 1759
I wrote to your Lordship about a month ago and directed my Letter to Hanover Square that My Lady Shelburne might see it as it passed to Ireland. In that Letter I gave your Lordship a full detail of the different Articles of expence incurred at Glasgow. I shall not at present repeat them; as your Lordship must undoubtedly by this time have received it. What you Lordship seems chiefly anxious about, the care that is to be taken of the Morals of the two young people you are so good as to recommend to our care, is undoubtedly of far the greatest importance. What I would advise for this purpose is either first, that the Tutor, of whom your Lordship gives so advantageous a character, should, if at all convenient, come along with them: or, secondly, that a Tutor should be appointed them here; or, last of all, they that should be boarded in some of the Proffessors houses who are in the Practise of taking Boarders. The first expedient I look upon as incomparably the Best, nothing being equal to established Authority for the government of young people. The objection against the second, is not only the expence that would attend it which would probably be considerable (as not only a fee of at least twenty or thirty Pounds a year must probably be paid to such a tutor, but to have the proper use of him, he must be boarded along with them) but likewise the extreme difficulty of finding a good one: I think, however, this might be taken care of. The objection against the third expedient is likewise its expensiveness, the board taken by the Proffessors being ten pounds per quarter for each Person. Your Lordship will judge which of these is the most proper expedient.
Your Lordship makes me very vain when you mention the satisfaction you have had in reading the book I lately published, and the engagements you think I have come under to the Public. I can, however, assure your Lordship that I have come under no engagements which I look upon as so sacred as those by which I am bound as a member of this University to do every[thing] in my Power to serve the young people who are sent here to study, such especially as are particularly recommended to my care. I shall expect, whenever they are settled, that your Lordships friends will look upon my house as their home, and that they will have recourse to me in every Difficulty that they meet with in the Prosecution of their studies, and that I shall never regard any application of this kind as an interruption of business, but as the most agreeable and useful business in which I can be engaged.
I shall soon have occasion for a remittance from your Lordship. The fifty Pounds left here by Lord Fitzmaurice are now spent, and I am now about thirty Pounds in advance. I shall send your Lordship upon the sitting down of the College a full account of every article of the former years expence. The chief articles have been fees to different Masters, two suits of Cloaths, a suit of mourning and a summer suit of fustian, Books and some other necessaries. His allowance for Pocket is a guinea per month. I am with the greatest respect
MS., James M. and Marie–Louise Osborn Collection, Yale University Libr.; Burke Corr. i. 129–30.
Wimple Street, Cavendish Square, Westminster, 10 Sept. 1759
I am quite ashamed that the first Letter I have the honour of writing to you should be an apology for my conduct. It ought to be entirely taken up with my thanks to you for the satisfaction I received from your very agreeable and instructive work, but I cannot do that pleasing act of Justice without apologising at the same time for not having done it much earlier. When I received the Theory of Moral Sentiments from Mr Hume, I ran through it with great eagerness; I was immediately after hurried out of Town, and involved ever since in a Variety of troublesome affairs. My resolution was to defer my acknowledgements until I had read your book with proper care and attention; to do otherwise with so well studied a piece would be to treat it with great injustice. It was indeed an attention extremely well bestowed and abundantly repaid. I am not only pleased with the ingenuity of your Theory; I am convinced of its solidity and Truth; and I do not know that it ever cost me less trouble to admit so many things to which I had been a stranger before. I have ever thought that the old Systems of morality were too contracted and that this Science could never stand well upon any narrower Basis than the whole of Human Nature. All the writers who have treated this Subject before you were like those Gothic Architects who were fond of turning great Vaults upon a single slender Pillar; There is art in this, and there is a degree of ingenuity without doubt; but it is not sensible, and it cannot long be pleasing. A theory like yours founded on the Nature of man, which is always the same, will last, when those that are founded on his opinions, which are always changing, will and must be forgotten. I own I am particularly pleased with those easy and happy illustrations from common Life and manners in which your work abounds more than any other that I know by far. They are indeed the fittest to explain those natural movements of the mind with which every Science relating to our Nature ought to begin. But one sees, that nothing is less used, than what lies directly in our way. Philosophers therefore very frequently miss a thousand things that might be of infinite advantage, though the rude Swain treads daily on them with his clouted Shoon. It seems to require that infantine simplicity which despises nothing, to make a good Philosopher, as well as to make a good Christian. Besides so much powerful reasoning as your Book contains, there is so much elegant Painting of the manners and passions, that it is highly valuable even on that account. The stile is every where lively and elegant, and what is, I think equally important in a work of that kind, it is well varied; it is often sublime too, particularly in that fine Picture of the Stoic Philosophy towards the end of your first part which is dressed out in all the grandeur and Pomp that becomes that magnificent delusion. I have mentioned something of what affected me as Beauties in your work. I will take the Liberty to mention too what appeared to me as a sort of Fault. You are in some few Places, what Mr Locke is in most of his writings, rather a little too diffuse. This is however a fault of the generous kind, and infinitely preferable to the dry sterile manner, which those of dull imaginations are apt to fall into. To another I should apologise for a freedom of this Nature.
My delay on this occasion may I am afraid make it improper for me to ask any favour from you. But there is one, I have too much at heart not to sacrifice any propriety to attain it. It is, that whenever you come to Town, I may have the honour of being made personally known to you. I shall take the Liberty of putting this office on our friend Mr. Hume who has already so much obliged me by giving me your Book. I am Sir with the truest esteem for your Work and your Character
College of Glasgow, 17 Sept. 1759
It gives me great concern that the first letter I ever have done myself the honour to write to you should be upon so melancholy an occasion. As your Brother was generally known here, he is universally regretted, and your friends are sorry that, amidst the public rejoicings and prosperity, your family should have occasion to be in mourning. Everybody here remembers you with the greatest admiration and affection, and nothing that concerns you is indifferent to them, and there are more people who sympathise with you than you are aware of. It would be the greatest pedantry to offer any topics of consolation to you who are naturally so firm and so manly. As your Brother dyed in the service of his country, you have the best and the noblest consolation: That since it has pleased God to deprive you of the satisfaction you might have expected from the continuance of his life, it has at least been so ordered that the manner of his death does you honour.
You left Scotland so much sooner than you proposed, when I had the pleasure of seeing you at Glasgow, that I had not an opportunity of making you a visit at Dalkieth, as I intended, before you should return to London.
I sent about a fortnight ago the books which you ordered for the Duke of Buccleugh to Mr. Campbell at Edinburgh. I paid for them, according to your orders, as soon as they were ready. I send you enclosed a list of them, with the prices discharged on the back. You will compare with the books when they arrive. Mr. Campbell will further them to London. I should have wrote to you of this a fortnight ago, but my natural dilatoriness prevented me.
I ever am, with the greatest esteem and regard, your most obliged and most obedient humble servant,
MS., NLS Minto Collection; unpubl.
Glasgow, 10 Oct. 1759
I know not what apology to make for having so long delayed to write to you. I thought myselfe infinitely obliged to you for the objection which you made to a Part of my system, and immediately began to write a philosophical letter to you to show that the consequence which you seemed to fear would follow from it, had no necessary connection with it. Upon second thoughts, however, I thought it would be better to alter the 2d Section of the 3d part of my book so as to obviate that objection and to send you this alteration. This cost me more time and thought than you could well imagine the composition of three sheets of Paper would stand me; for nothing is more difficult than to insert something into the middle of what is already composed and to connect it cleverly at both ends. Before you read it I will begg of you to read over the first paragraphs of the second Section of the third part, then pass over the three next paragraphs, and read the sixth and seventh till you come to the paragraph at the bottom of page 260 which begins with the word, Unfortunately; instead of that paragraph insert the second of those additions which you will receive by this Post under another cover. I will be greatly obliged to you if you will send me your opinion of it. You will observe that it is intended both to confirm my Doctrine that our judgements concerning our own conduct have always a reference to the sentiments of some other being, and to shew that, notwithstanding this, real magnanimity and conscious virtue can support itselfe under the disapprobation of all mankind. I should be glad to know how far you think I have made out both; if you do not think it quite satisfactory I can make it still a great deal plainer, by a great number of new illustrations. I would likewise beg of you to read what I say upon Mandevilles system and then consider whether upon the whole I do not make Virtue sufficiently independent of popular opinion.
I think, I have made it sufficiently plain that our judgements concerning the conduct of others are founded in Sympathy. But it would seem very odd if we judged of our own conduct by one principle and of that of other men by another.
You will find too in the Papers I have sent you an answer to an objection of D. Humes. I think I have entirely discomfitted him.
I am now about publishing a new edition of my Book and would be greatly obliged to you for any criticisms you could make upon it. If you see Colonel Clerk I should be glad to know his opinion and would wish you to communicate the papers I have sent you to him. I am fully sensible how much trouble I am giving you by all this. I know, however, your friendship will excuse it.
Boscawens Victory gave everybody here the greatest satisfaction. We look upon it as a preventative of the threatened invasion, about the event of which few people seem very anxious. I thought myself equally honoured and obliged by the letter you was so good as to write to me upon it.
The only news here relates to elections. Mr. Crawfurd has lost the town of Air. Sir Adam Ferguson and Lord Loudoun have got the better of him there. Your friend Mr. Muir of Caldwell is in some danger from Mr. Cunningham of Craigen[d]s. The head court of the Shire was held yesterday in which everything was carried for Mr. Muir, and all the new votes, that were made to oppose him, rejected. The decision of that affair will depend, I hear, on the Duke of Argylle. I ever am Dear Sir
[MS. Draft Amendments for Edition 2 of TMS, 1761]
Page 99. Line 12. After the following Sentence: But it is painful to go along with grief, and we always enter into it with reluctance:
Make a reference and insert the following note at the bottom of the page.
It has been objected to me that as I found the Sentiment of Approbation, which is always agreable, upon Sympathy, it is inconsistent with my System to allow of any disagreeable Sympathy. I answer that in the sentiment of approbation, there are two things to be taken notice of; first, the Sympathetic passion of the Spectator; and, secondly, the emotion which arises from his observing the perfect coincidence between this sympathetic passion in himself and the original passion in the person principally concerned. This last emotion, in which the Sentiment of approbation properly Consists, is always agreable and delightful. The other may either be agreable or disagreable, according to the nature of the original passion, whose features it must always, in some measure, retain. Two Sounds, I suppose, may, each of them taken singly, be austere, and yet, if they are perfect concords, the perception of this harmony and coincidence may be agreable.
page 260. At the bottom.
Instead of the erased passage in this and the following page insert what follows into the Text.
When I endeavour to examine my own conduct, when I endeavour to pass sentence upon it and either to approve or condemn it, it is evident that, in all such cases, I divide myself, as it were, into two persons, and that I, the examiner and Judge, represent a different character from that other I, the person whose conduct is examined into and judged of. The first is the Spectator whose sentiments with regard to my own conduct I endeavour to enter into, by placing myself in his Situation, and by considering how it would appear to me when seen from that particular point of view. The second is the Agent, the person whom I properly call myself, and of whose conduct, under the Character of a Spectator, I was endeavouring to form some oppinion. The first is the Judge; the Second, the pannel. But that the Judge should, in every respect, be the same with the pannel, is as impossible, as that the cause should, in every respect, be the same with the effect.
To be amiable and to be meritorious, that is, to deserve Love and to deserve reward, are the great Characters of virtue, and to be odious and punishable, of vice. But all these characters have an immediate reference to the sentiments of others. Virtue is not said to be amiable or to be meritorious, because it is the object of its own Love or of its own gratitude; but because it excites those sentiments in other men. The consciousness that it is the object of such favourable regards is the source of that inward tranquillity and self satisfaction with which it is naturally attended, as the Suspicion of the contrary gives occasion to the torments of vice. What so great happiness as to be beloved, and to know that we deserve to be beloved? What so great misery as to be hated, and to know that we deserve to be hated?
Man is considered as a moral, because he is regarded as an accountable being. But an Accountable being, as the word expresses, is a being that must give an Account of its actions to some other, and that, consequently, must regulate them according to the good liking of this other. Man is accountable to God and his fellow creatures. But tho’ he is, no doubt, principally accountable to God, in the order of time, he must necessarily conceive himself as accountable to his fellow creatures, before he can form any idea of the Deity, or of the rules by which that Divine Being will judge of his conduct. A Child, surely, conceives itself as accountable to its parents, and is elevated or cast down by the thought of their merited approbation or disapprobation, long before it forms any idea of its Accountableness to the Deity, or of the rules by which that Divine being will judge of its conduct.
The Great Judge of the World, has, for the wisest reasons, thought proper to interpose, between the weak eye of human reason and the throne of his eternal justice, a degree of obscurity and darkness which, tho it does not entirely cover that great tribunal from the view of mankind, yet renders the impression of it faint and feeble in comparison of what might be expected from the grandeur and importance of so mighty an object. If those infinite rewards and punishments, which the almighty has prepared for those who obey or transgress his will, were perceived as distinctly as we foresee the frivolous and temporary retaliations which we may expect from one another, the weakness of human nature, astonished at the immensity of objects so little fitted to its comprehension, could no longer attend to the little affairs of this world; and it is absolutely impossible that the business of society could have been carried on, if, in this respect, there had been a fuller revelation of the intentions of providence than that which has already been made. That men, however, might never be without a rule to direct their conduct by, nor without a judge whose authority should enforce its observation, the author of nature has made man the immediate judge of mankind, and has, in this respect, as in many others, created him after his own image, and appointed him his vicegerent upon earth to Superintend the behaviour of his brethren. They are taught by Nature to acknowledge that power and jurisdiction which has thus been confered upon him, and to tremble or exult according as they imagine that they have either merited his Censure or deserved his Applause.
But whatever may be the authority of this inferior tribunal, which is continually before their eyes, if at any time it should decide contrary to these rules and principles which nature has established for regulating its Judgements, men appeal from this unjust decision, and call upon a Superior tribunal established in their own minds, to redress the unjustice of this weak or partial judgement.
There are certain principles established by nature for governing our judgements concerning the conduct of those we live with. As long as we decide according to those principles, and neither applaud nor condemn any thing which nature has not rendered the proper object of Applause or condemnation, nor any further than she has rendered them such, the person, concerning whom we form these Judgements must himself necessarily approve of them. When he puts himself into our situation, he cannot avoid entering into those views of his own conduct which, he feels, must naturally occur to us, and he is obliged to Consider it himself in the very same light in which we represent it. Our sentiments, therefore, must necessarily produce their full effect upon him, and he cannot faill to conceive all the triumph of self approbation from what appears to him such merited applause, as well as all the horrors of Shame from what, he is sensible, is such deserved condemnation. But it is otherwise if we have either applauded or condemned him, contrary to those principles and rules which nature has established for the direction of our judgements concerning every thing of this kind. If we have either applauded or Condemned him for what, when he puts himself in our Situation, does not appear to him to be the object either of applause or Condemnation; as, in this case, he cannot enter into our Sentiments, if he has any constancy or firmness, he is little affected by them, and can neither be elevated by the favourable nor mortified by the unfavourable decision. The applause of the whole world will avail but little if our own conscience condemns us; and the disapprobation of all mankind is not capable of oppressing us when we are absolved by the tribunal within our own breast, and when our own mind tells us that mankind are in the wrong.
But tho this tribunal within the breast be thus the supreme arbiter of all our actions, tho’ it can reverse the decisions of all mankind with regard to our character and Conduct, tho it can mortify us amidst the Applauses and Support us under the Censure of the world, yet if we enquire into the origin of its institution, its jurisdiction, we shall find, is in a great measure derived from the authority of that very tribunal, whose decisions it so often and so justly reverses. When we first come into the world, being desireous to please those we live with, we are accustomed to Consider what behaviour is likely to be agreeable to every person we converse with, to our parents, to our masters, to our companions. We address ourselves to individuals, and for some time fondly pursue the impossible and absurd project of rendering ourselves universally agreable, and of gaining the good will and approbation of every body. We soon Learn, however, from experience, that this universal approbation is altogether unattainable. As soon as we come to have more important interests to manage, we find, that by pleasing one man we almost certainly disoblige another, and that by humouring an individual, we may often irritate a whole people. The fairest and most equitable conduct must frequently obstruct the interests or thwart the inclinations of particular persons, who will seldome have candour eneough to enter into the propriety of our motives, or to see that our conduct, how disagreable soever to them, is perfectly suitable to our situation. We soon learn, therefore, to sett up in our own minds a judge between ourselves and those we live with. We Conceive ourselves as acting in the presence of a person quite candid and equitable, of one who has no particular relation, either to ourselves, or to those whose interests are affected by our conduct; who is neither father, nor Brother, nor friend, either to them, or to us; but is meerly a man in general, an impartial Spectator who considers our conduct with the same indifference with which we regard that of other people. If when we place ourselves in the Situation of such a person, our own actions appear to us under an agreable aspect, if we feel that such a Spectator cannot avoid entering into all the motives which influenced us, whatever may be the judgements of the world, we cannot help being pleased with our own behaviour, and regarding ourselves, in spite of the Censure of our companions, as the just and proper objects of approbation. On the contrary, if the man within condemns us, the loudest acclamations of mankind appear but as the noise of ignorance and folly, and whenever we assume the Character of this impartial judge, we cannot avoid viewing our own actions with his distaste and dissatisfaction. The weak, the vain and the frivolous, indeed, may be mortified by the most groundless Censure or elated by the most absurd applause. Such persons are not accustomed to consult the judge within concerning the oppinion which they ought to form of their own conduct. This inmate of the breast, this abstract man, the representative of mankind and Substitute of the Deity, whom nature has appointed the Supreme arbiter of all their actions is seldome appealed to by them. They are contented with the decision of the inferior tribunal. The approbation of their companions, of the particular persons whom they have lived and conversed with, has generally been the ultimate object of all their wishes. If they Succeed in this their Joy is compleat; and if they faill they are entirely disappointed. They never think of appealing to the Superior court. They have Seldome enquired after its decisions and are altogether unacquainted with the rules and forms of its procedure. When the world injures them, therefore, they are incapable of doing themselves Justice and are in consequence necessarily the Slaves of the world. But it is otherwise with the man who has, upon all occasions, been accustomed to have recourse to the judge within and to consider, not what the world approves or disapproves of, but what appears to this impartial Spectator the natural and proper object of approbation and disapprobation. The judgement of this supreme arbiter of his conduct is the applause which he has been accustomed principally to court, is the Censure which he has been accustomed principally to fear. Compared with this final decision, the sentiments of all mankind, tho’ not altogether indifferent, appear to be but of small moment; and he is incapable of being either much elivated by their favourable, or greatly depressed by their most disadvantageous Judgement.
It is only by consulting this judge within that we can see whatever relates to ourselves in its proper shape and dimensions, or that we can make any proper comparison between our own interests and those of other men.
As to the eye of the body objects appear great or small, not so much according to their real dimensions, as according to the nearness or distance of their situation; so do they likewise to, what may be called, the natural eye of the mind: and we remedy the defects of both these organs pretty much in the same manner. In my present situation an immense landscape of Lawns and woods and distant mountains, seems to do no more than cover the little window which I write by, and to be out of all proportion less than the chamber in which I am sitting. I can form a just comparison between those great objects and the little objects around me, in no other way, than by transporting myself, at least in fancy, to a different station, from whence I can survey both at nearly equal distances, and thereby form some judgement of their real proportions. Habit and experience have taught me to do this so easily and so readily, that I am scarce sensible that I do it; and a man must be, in some measure, acquainted with the philosophy of vision, before he can be thoroughly convinced, how little those distant objects would appear to the eye, if the imagination, from a knowledge of their real magnitudes, did not swell and dilate them.
In the same manner to the selfish and original passions of human nature, the loss or gain of a very small interest of our own, appears to be of vastly more importance, excites a much more passionate joy or sorrow, a much more ardent desire or aversion, than the greatest concern of another with whom we have no particular connection. His interests as long as they are surveyed from this station, can never be put into the ballance with our own, can never restrain us from doing whatever may tend to promote our own, how ruinous soever to him. Before we can make any proper comparison of those opposite interests we must change our position. We must view them, neither from our own place, nor yet from his, neither with our own eyes nor yet with his, but from the place and with the eyes of a third person, who has no particular connection with either and who judges with impartiality between us. This is the only station from which both can be seen at equal distances, or from which any proper comparison can be made between them. Here too habit and experience have taught us to assume this station so easily and so readily that we are scarce sensible that we assume it; and it requires, in this case too, some degree of reflection and even of philosophy to convince us, how little interest we should take in the greatest concerns of our neighbour, how little we should be affected by whatever relates to him, if the sense of propriety and justice did not correct the other wise natural inequality of our sentiments. It is from this station only that we can see the propriety of generosity and the deformity of injustice; the propriety of resigning the greatest interests of our own for the yet more important interests of others, and the deformity of doing the smallest injury to another in order to obtain the greatest benefite to ourselves. The real littleness of ourselves and of whatever relates to ourselves can be seen from this Station only; and it is here only that we can learn the great lesson of Stoical magnanimity and firmness, to be no more affected by what befalls ourselves than by what befalls our neighbour, or, what comes to the same thing, than our neighbour is capable of being affected by what befalls us. ‘When our neighbour, says Epictetus, loses his wife or his son, there is nobody who is not sensible that this is a human calamity, a natural event altogether according to the ordinary course of things. But, when the same thing happens to ourselves, then we cry out, as if we had suffered the most dreadful misfortune. We ought, however, to remember how we were affected when this accident happened to another, and such as we were in his case such ought we to be in our own.’
It is not upon all occasions, however, that we are capable of judging with this perfect impartiality between ourselves and others. Even the judge within is often in danger of being corrupted by the violence and injustice of our selfish passions, and is often induced to make a report very different from what the real circumstances of the case are capable of authorizing.
There are two different occasions upon which we examine our conduct, and endeavour to view it in the light in which the impartial spectator would view it. First, when we are about to act; and secondly &c. continue as in page 261.
MS., SRO Buccleuch Collection GD224/377/9/1 p. 3; unpubl.
Glasgow, 24 Oct. 1759
I am much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken in remembering so small an affair. I send you the account discharged. I made Mr Foulis copy it out of his books a second time as Mr Townshend may possibly have lost the copy I sent him. I am with great regard
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 250–1 (in part).
Glasgow, 29 Oct. 1759
Your Lordship will receive by the same post which brings you this letter two other packets, of which the one contains Mr. Fitzmaurices receipts for the money he has received at different times from me since he came here, the other, the different accounts of the way in which part of this money has been expended. I have marked every receipt with a letter of the Alphabet. Your Lordship will find the same letter upon the back of the Account or accounts which correspond to it.
Your Lordship will observe several receipts that have no accounts corresponding to them. It is always mentioned in the body of the receipt what the money was given for, but there is not always any discharged account from a third person vouching that it was actually so expended. This is the case with regard to all those articles which concern the payment of any of his masters, none of whom ever give any discharge; with regard to those for the fees of a Physician and Surgeon; with regard to those for pocket money; with regard to those for some books which were bought for ready money and which are named in the body of the receipt, for a set of Silver buckles, for a case of mathematical instruments and for some other smaller articles of a few shillings value. The two principal articles of which there is no account are that for a journey to Edinburgh: and that for another to the Duke of Argylls at Inverara. I am answerable for the first of these, as it was upon my account that he went to Edinburgh, I not chusing to leave him behind me. I expected to have brought him back with me for fourty shillings; But when I came there I was often obliged either to sup or dine at places where it was improper to carry him. When this happened to be the case, that I might be sure what company he was in in a very dissolute town, I ordered a small entertainment at our lodgings and invited two or three young lawiers to keep him company in my absence. Inverara is two days journey from Glasgow and we happened to be misinformed with regard to Dukes motions and came there two days before him during which time we stayed at a very expensive Inn. At both these places I laid out the money and Mr. Fitzmaurice kept the account and when we came home we divided the expence between us.
The fees of the four Masters whose classes he attended last winter your Lordship may justly think extravagant. But it is the fee which is expected from all noblemens sons. Not above the half would be expected from any Gentlemans son.
Your Lordship will observe the first Article for Pocket to be four Pounds. He asked it and as it was the beginning of my government I gave it. It was spent in less than a month, not upon any vitious pleasure, but upon prints and baubles of no great utility and a considerable portion of it upon nuts, apples and oranges. After that I capitulated with him for a guinea a month and he has kept to this pretty nearly. You will observe two guineas for Pocket charged in one or two articles. This, however, you will observe is the always the allowance not only of the month in which it is charged but of the preceding month for which my own indolence had made me defer taking any receipt.
Your Lordship expresses in a letter I received from you sometime ago, a very laudible anxiety that your son should be held to Oeconomy not that he might hoard, but that he might be able to give. I did not at that time take any notice of that part of your Lordships letter. I can now venture to assure your Lordship that, tho’ you may think this account a bad specimen of his management, he is punctual, regular and orderly beyond almost anybody of his age and condition I have ever known, that he is careful of every thing upon which he sets any value, of his books, of his cloaths, and will I am perswaded be so of his money, whenever he comes to have any money to manage that is worth caring for. His regularity is tempered by a great desire of distinguishing himself by doing actions of eclat that will draw upon him the Attention of the world. He is even animated by this passion to a degree that is a little hazardous and is capable of venturing to expose his talents, which are naturally excellent, before they are perfectly matured. If he lives to be a man, he will, I imagine be firm, steady and resolute in an uncommon degree, and by the time he comes to the meridian of Life, will be a man of severe and even of rigid morals. I am your Lordships
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 251–2
Glasgow, 3 Dec. 1759
I received by this Post the honour of your Lordships Letter of the 17th November, with the two draughts enclosed. Your Lordship has remitted the money in the manner that is most advantageous to me. As the ballance of Exchange is almost always against Glasgow and in favour of London, all London bills commonly sell above Par, and I this day received ½ per cent advanced price for the two draughts you sent me. I should abuse your Lordships Generosity very grossly if I took advantage of what you are so good as to put into my Power or did not declare that I think the sum you have remitted me full compensation for all the trouble I have been at with Mr Fitzmaurice. That trouble, indeed, is very Little. I have never known anybody more easily governed, or who more readily adopted any advice when the propriety of it is fairly explained to him. Since he came here, he has been, perhaps, the most regular student in the whole University. I shall give your Lordship but one instance of it. We have a meeting of the whole University every Saturday morning for discipline; the whole business of this meeting is to enquire into the delinquencies of the former week and to punish them with some small fine. A very strict attendance upon this meeting is not insisted on and the most regular commonly think they do enough if they attend once in three times. Mr Fitzmaurice never missed this meeting till Saturday last when he happened to oversleep himself and as I did not go out myself that day, I did not think it worth while to set him up. This absence was so remarkable that I had messages that forenoon, from, I believe, half the University to enquire if he was well. I cannot give your Lordship a stronger instance how much he takes it a point of honour to observe the most frivolous parts of his duty as a student with exact regularity. He gives very good application and has a very great ambition to distinguish himself as a man of Learning. He seems to have a particular turn for and delight in Mechanics and Mathematics which make the principal part of his business this year continuing, however, all his last year’s studies except Logic. What he is most defective in is Grammar, especially english Grammar, in which he is apt some times to blunder to a degree that I am some times at a loss to account for. This, however, I expect will soon be mended.
Your Lordship will receive along with this letter two covers containing four sheets of Anecdotes relating to the King of Prussia. My Lord Fitzmaurice received them from a friend of his in Germany. He sent them to one Mr Boyle at London, I suppose my Lord Orrerys Son, in order to be sent to me whom he desired to transmit them to your Lordship that when you had read them, you might burn them, for he was not at liberty to give a copy; These were his Lordships words. I received them about three weeks ago and have read them over and over with great pleasure. They will, I dare to say, give your Lordship the same satisfaction. Mr Boyle desired me to return them to him. I chose, however, to obey My Lord Fitzmaurice, The channel, besides, by which Mr Boyle proposed they should be returned did not appear to me to be perfectly secure, and he did not favour me with his direction. I would, however beg of [your] Lordship not to burn them, till I can clear up this with Mr Boyle, that if My Lord Fitzmaurice intended them to be seen by any fourth person his intention may yet be fulfilled. I ever am
MS., SRO Buccleuch Collection GD224/377/9/4; unpubl.
Glasgow, 9 Jan. 1760
I am very much obliged to you for taking the trouble to remember such a trifle and being so much at pains about it. If you will be so good as to pay the money to Mr Kincaid the Bookseller, he will account for it to me. The sum, if you remember, is seventeen pounds, nine Shillings. His receipt I suppose may stand for a discharge: but if any more formal discharge is requisite I shall send it. Remember me to Mrs Campbell and family. I heartily wish you and them a good new year and many of them, and ever am with great esteem and regard
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 10 Mar. 1760
I think it my Duty to inform your Lordship that Mr. Fitzmaurice has been for some days past ill of a slight fever, from which, however, he never appeared to be in the least danger and from which I hope he is now in a fair way of recovery.
He was seized with it on Wednesday last. I missed him that forenoon from the Class, which I had never done before and upon my return to my own house, I found him lying upon his bed and complaining of a headache. I immediately sent for a Physician who ordered him to be blooded. He was a good deal relieved by the bleeding, but became very feverish that evening. He continued so all next day but the day following found himself greatly relieved in consequence of a sweat and a sound Sleep. I should have written to your Lordship that evening, that is by fridays post, for I could have written no sooner, but he appeared to be so much better and Dr. Black assured me so positively that all danger was now over, and that he would probably be quite well next day, that I resolved to wait one other post before I wrote anything that could possibly alarm your Lordship. The Doctors prediction was in part fulfilled. He was very chearful and easy during all Saturday, the fourth day, till about six in the Evening. At that time he began again to complain of his headache and appeared a little feverish. Both the fever and headache, however, were much slighter than they had been the first two days. He became very drowsy and slept with very little interruption all that night and all next day. On Sunday, the fifth day, at six in the Evening, he awaked, found himself quite relieved; complained of nothing but hunger; eat a good deal of bread and drunk tea. He has been very easy ever since and seems at present quite free of all fever. The Doctor, however, expects that he may have some slight attack either this night or tomorrow, which is the seventh day. He thinks himself, however, morally certain that it will both be very trifling and that it will be the last of this ailment. Your Lordship, perhaps, may think that as I ventured to delay writing to you by last post, I ought not to have written by this: and I shall readily acknowledge that my behaviour in this respect is not very consistent. But when Mr. Fitzmaurice had a slight relapse on Saturday evening I felt so much uneasiness for not having written to your Lordship the day before that I resolved never to expose myself to the like; your Lordship may depend upon his being treated with the utmost care and attention. I have the greatest trust in the two Medical Gentlemen who waited upon him, Dr. Black and Mr. Hamilton. They are both with him at least five times a day. They never have suspected the least danger from this ailment which they now think is over, and it is contrary to both their opinions that I give your Lordship the trouble of this alarm. Your Lordship may depend upon hearing from me by every post till Mr. Fitzmaurice is able to write himself. I ever [am]
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 12 Mar. 1760
It gives me as much pleasure to write to your Lordship today as it gave me pain to write to you by last post. The Doctors Predictions have upon this occasion been literally and exactly fulfilled. Mr. Fitzmaurice had the night before last a very slight attack of his fever which he was relieved from by a gentle sweat; and last night he had a bleeding at the nose which Dr. Black regards as a perfect crisis. He has ever since been entirely free from all feverish ailments or symptoms. He slept very sound all last night without any disturbance, and has been very easy and hearty all this day. He has been out of bed a great part of it, and has been amusing himself by reading the new Tragedy. His two Physicians Drunk tea with him and neither of them apprehend him in any danger of a relapse. There has appeared too that sediment in his urine which is regarded by them as the most certain symptom of recovery in all feverish complaints. I write this after seven o’clock at night. He has just now gone to bed and, tho weary and exhausted, seems perfectly well in every other respect. It gives me great pleasure to be able to relieve your Lordship so soon from the Alarm of which my last letter may have given you. I shall write to your Lordship whatever happens by next post. By the Post thereafter he will probably be able to write himself. I ever am with the greatest respect, My Lord
MS., GUA 2750; unpubl.
Glasgow, 15 Mar. 1760
Mr. Andrew Stuart desired me to send you a Copy of a Letter He has from Mr. Smith one of the Professors of the College of Glasgow in which you See the difficulty anent the Presentation to Mr. Watson to remove which He desires Mr. Watson may return to Him the Presentation and He will obtain a new one for Him whereby He will enter to the Logick Class next october and be received by the Colledge agreeable to the Statutes and Get a year more than He had before him
Copy Letter by Professor Smith to Mr. Stuart [?13 March 1760]
I give you the trouble of this Letter to acquaint you of the Distress which a very Small oversight of Duke Hamiltons Tutors is likely to bring upon two very worthy young Men. They have presented one Mr. Watson [and] in order to be entitled to this Bursary He must enter the Moral Philosophy class But by the Statutes of Last Visitation no Scotch Man can pass the Logick Class unless He has Studied Logic at Some other College. Besides in two years Mr. Watson must take a degree in order to be entitled to the Divinity Bursary But by the same Statutes no Scotch Man can take a degree who has not gone throâ€™ a compleat course of Philosophy. We dare not dispense with these Statutes which are the very Supports of the College. Mr. Watsonâ€™s presentation therefore so far as I can judge of the Opinion of my Collegues cannot be received.
Mr. Bruce I understand has the promise of the Vacancy which will occur next year in the Logic Class He is at present in the Moral Philosophy Class and it will be a great hardship upon Him to goe back as it will retard the course of his education.
The best way to make all easy is to give Mr. Bruce Mr. Watsons Presentation and to reserve for Mr. Watson that which is intended for Mr. Bruce. This will be equally for the benefite of both the Young Gentlemen and I am assured is agreeable to both their inclinations.
Signed / Adam Smith
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 17 Mar. 1760
I expected that Mr. Fitzmaurice would have been able to have acquainted your Lordship by this Post of the entire reestablishment of his health. An accident, however, has prevented this from taking place as soon as I expected. I never saw any body appear to recover faster than he did on Friday and Saturday last. On Saturday, particularly, he was surprisingly well and went to bed about 8 o’clock, in appearance, in as good health as it is possible for anybody to have, who had so lately recovered of a fever. On Sunday morning he was seized with a purging which continued all that day, raised his pulse and seemed to threaten a return of his fever. The Doctor assured me that this would in all proba[bility] prove a final crisis, that his former bleeding at the nose had not been so plentiful as he could have wished and that he had always suspected that something of this kind might happen: And I remember, indeed, that after the bleeding of his nose had stopped the Dr. told him that it would probably bleed again that night, which, however, did not happen and is the only prediction of his in this disease that has not in some degree been fulfilled. Mr. Fitzmaurice continued being very feverish all Sunday: about 8 o’clock at night he fell fast asleep and slept very sound, without once waking, till this morning (Monday) at 10 o’clock. He appeared then to be perfectly refreshed and free from all symptoms of fever. The inclination to stool, too, was much abated and seems now to be entirely gone. I write this at 8 o’clock at night. Tho’ much exhausted by the Disorder of yesterday, he is quite cool and easy and free from every symptom of fever. This slight fit, I hope, tho it has retarded, will ensure his future recovery. I am
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 19 Mar. 1760
Mr. Fitzmaurice has been quite free from all feverish symptoms since Monday last, and begins now to recover his strength very fast: he has been out of bed all day and has written to my Lady Shelburne. He would have written to your Lordship at the same time, but as he took physic this Morning he is a good deal exhausted and desired that I would make his excuse. This is the only drug he has been desired to take since the commencement of his illness. He was only once blooded and the rest of his cure has been wrought by a dark, quiet room and great plenty of lemonade made of warm barley water. I am with the highest respect My Lord
9: o’clock at night
MS., Goldsmith Libr., University of London, A.L. 709; Bonar, facing xxviii (facsim.); Rae 149–50.
Glasgow, 4 Apr. 1760
I sent up to Mr Millar four or five Posts ago the same additions which I had formerly sent to you, with a good many corrections and improvements which occurred to me since. If there are any typographical errors remaining in the last edition which had escaped me, I hope you will correct them. In other respects I could wish it was printed pretty exactly according to the copy which I delivered to you. A man, says the Spanish proverb, had better be a Cuckold and know nothing of the matter, than not be Cuckold and believe himself to be one. And in the same manner, say I, An Author had sometimes better be in the wrong and believe himself in the right; than be in the right and believe or even suspect himself in the wrong. To desire you to read my book over and mark all the corrections you would wish me to make upon a sheet of paper and send it to me, would, I fear, be giving you too much trouble. If, however, you could induce yourself to take this trouble, you would oblige me greatly: I know how much I shall be benefitted and I shall at the same time preserve the pretious right of private judgement for the sake of which our forefathers kicked out the Pope and the Pretender. I believe you to be much more infallible than the Pope, but as I am a Protestant my conscience makes me scruple to submit to any unscriptural authority.
A propos to the Pope and the Pretender, have you read Hooks memoirs? I have been ill these ten days, otherwise I should have written to you sooner, but I sat up the day before yesterday in my bed and read them thro’ with infinite satisfaction, tho they are by no means well written. The substance of what is in them I knew before tho not in such detail. I am afraid they are published at an unlucky time, and may throw a damp upon our militia. Nothing, however, appears to me more excusable than the disaffection of Scotland at that time. The Union was a measure from which infinite Good has been derived to this country. The Prospect of that good, however, must then have appeared very remote and very uncertain. The immediate effect of it was to hurt the interest of every single order of men in the country. The dignity of the nobility was undone by it. The greater part of the Gentry who had been accustomed to represent their own country in its own Parliament were cut out for ever from all hopes of representing it in a British Parliament. Even the merchants seemed to suffer at first. The trade to the Plantations was, indeed, opened to them. But that was a trade which they knew nothing about: the trade they were acquainted with, that to France, Holland and the Baltic, was laid under new embarressments which almost totally annihilated the two first and most important branches of it. The Clergy too, who were then far from insignificant, were alarmed about the Church. No wonder if at that time all orders of men conspired in cursing a measure so hurtful to their immediate interest. The views of their Posterity are now very different; but those views could be seen by but few of our forefathers, by those few in but a confused and imperfect manner.
It will give me the greatest satisfaction to hear from you. I pray you write to me soon. Remember me to the Franklins. I hope I shall have the Grace to write to the youngest by next post to thank him in the name both of the College and of myself for his very agreable present. Remember me likewise to Mr Griffiths. I am greatly obliged to him for the very handsom Character he gave of my book in his review. I ever am Dear Strahan
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Scott 253–4 (in part).
Glasgow, 15 July 1760
I send your Lordship enclosed in the same packet with this letter Mr. Fitzmaurices receipts for the money he has got from me since the beginning of November last. The Sum, you will see, is upwards of ninety Pounds. I did not propose to trouble your Lordship upon this subject till November next. But I happened unluckily to catch cold in March last and I suffered this illness, thro’ carelessness, to hang about me till within these three weeks. I then thought I had got entirely the better of it. But upon going into Edinburgh about ten days ago, having lain in a damp bed in a house in that neighbourhood, it returned upon me with so much violence that two days ago, My friend Dr. Cullen took me aside on the street of Edinburgh, and told me that he thought it his duty to inform me plainly that if I had any hope of surviving next winter I must ride at least five hundred miles before the beginning of September. I came home yesterday to settle my affairs which, so well as I can judge, will take me up near a fortnight. If I was in health, it would not take up two days, but at present I can give so little continued application that I have already been obliged to interrupt this letter twice in order to let the profuse sweat, which the labour of writing three lines had thrown me into, go off. I am besides obliged to employ a great deal of time in Riding. I propose going the length of York and returning by the West of England as soon as my affairs will allow me. If, indeed, I run down as fast for these ten days to come as I have done for these ten days past, I think I shall save myself the trouble and My Mother, who is my heir, the expence of following my friends prescription.
As the expence of this proposed journey comes upon me a little unexpectedly I find myself obliged to begg that your Lordship would order payment immediately of the money I have advanced. Besides the money contained in the enclosed account Mr. Fitzmaurice owes three different accounts, two to different Booksellers and one to a Clothier. It will be three or four days before I can get in these different accounts. By what he tells me they will amount to between thirty and fourty Pounds Sterling. I fancy nearer the latter than the former. I must likewise beg of your Lordship to remit the last of these sums upon trust and I shall immediately take care that the Accounts themselves be transmitted to you. I would chuse to leave him behind me free in the world and as my intended journey will run away with all my ready Cash I cannot do it otherwise.
It would be throwing away Mr. Fitzmaurices time to make him accompany me on this expedition. He has had amusement and Dissipation enough during the ten days he staid with me in Edinburgh. A longer relaxation is altogether unnecessary to one of his hardy and strong constitution. He is at present and has been ever since the rising of the College extremely well employed. He stays at home all the forenoon which Time he employs in reading the best English Authors. Immediately after dinner he read with me L’Esprit des Loix for an hour or more till I caught my Last cold. That lecture is now, indeed, probably at an end for this Summer. The Evening he spends in exercises, in Dancing or in learning the exercise of an Officer and a Soldier. He learns them with no other view than to form his body, for I do not discover in him the least inclination towards the army. He has less disposition towards those parts of Science which are in some respects the objects of taste; than towards the mathematical and mechanical learning. In these he makes extraordinary progress but seems to have less time for what is called polite literature and his mind is in some respects like his body, rather strong and firm and masculine than very graceful or very elegant. No man can have a stronger or a more steady resolution to act what, he thinks, the right part, and if you can once satisfy him that any thing is fit to be done you may perfectly depend upon his doing it. To this excellent disposition he joins a certain hardness of character, if I may call it so, which hinders him from suiting himself, so readily as is agreeable, to the different situations and companies in which he has occasion to act. The great outlines of essential duty which are always the same, you may depend upon his never transgressing, but those little properties which are continually varying and for which no certain rule can be given he often mistakes. He has upon this account little address and cannot easily adjust himself to the different characters of those whom he desires to gain. He had learned at Eton a sort of flippant smartness which, not having been natural to him at first, has now left him almost entirely. In a few months more it will probably fall off altogether. The real bottom of his character is very grave and very serious, and by the time he is five and twenty, whatever faults he has will be the faults of the grave and serious character, with all its faults the best of Characters. I heard some time in April last that his companions accused him of narrowness. I told him of it immediately, and he soon explained to me what had given occasion to the accusation. I have ever since been more liberal to him and soon after gave him first six and then four Pounds to spend during the time of the Assizes. This has raised a good deal the article for pocket. As I am thoroughly convinced that there is now no chance of his ever being a spendthrift, I do not think that it could have any good effect to pinch him at present and it might have a very bad one. Take him altogether he is one of the best young men I have known, and since he came here has done more good than I ever knew anybody do in the same time. I have not the least fear that any thing will go wrong in my absence. I do not propose being away above a month. He will be in my house and have the conversation and assistance of several of my colleagues whenever he pleases to call for it. Independent of this my confidence in his own steadyness is now perfect and entire, and my illness will only be the loss of a lecture to him. Remember me in the most respectful manner to Lady Shelburne. I began this letter in the forenoon and finish it at night. It has been the labour of almost a day, you may judge how often I have been obliged to interrupt it. I am with the greatest respect
Mr. Fitzmaurice has gone out and has forgot to leave the Accounts with the vouchers of his receipts. Your Lordship will receive them in another packet by next post. His receipts come by this post in a packet by themselves. Your Lordship will observe that the date of his receipt for the jaunt to Edinburgh is yesterday, the day we came home and settled accounts. He had received the money as he had occasion for it and kept the rest of it. The same was the case of several of his other receipts, their dates are often posterior to the real time in which the money was received.
[Endorsed: ‘July 15. 1760. Mr. Smith of Glasgow giving account of his ill state of health and desiring a remittance of Money on acct. of my Son Thomas. I have accordingly remitted to him two Drafts on Gosling & Co. for £100 each this 23 July 1760.’]
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 11 Nov. 1760
Mr Fitzmaurice being at present indisposed with sore eyes I write this letter to make his apology to your Lordship and to Lady Shelburne for his not having written so regularly of late as usual. He got cold at Inveraray, the effect of which was to make the scurvy on his face strike in and fall upon his eyes. They were, he tells me, ill there, and have been so ever since his return. These three days he has been confined to a dark room. Had he taken proper care of them immediately upon his return, they probably would have given him less trouble. But his manliness hinders him from being so careful of his person, or as attentive to the first beginning of Disorder as I would wish him. The inflammation is in the ball of one of his eyes. By the application of Leeches it is this day a good deal reduced and he is free from all pain. I have no doubt, as he has at last agreed to sit at home for all the remaining part of this week and read none, that by the beginning of next week they will be well. Till they are so and he is able to write himself I shall write either to your Lordship or to Lady Shelburne every post to inform you how they are. I reckon this accident a little unlucky as he must probably use them very sparingly on account of the weakness which may remain when the inflammation is entirely gone; He had resumed his studies with great spirit immediately on his return and did not appear to have been at all dissipated by his journey. While I make his apology I am sensible that I have much more reason to make my own for having, without any such excuse, so long neglected to thank your Lordship for the many obligations your Lordship and Lady Shelburne laid me under while at Wycombe. I shall, however, trust entirely to your goodness in this respect for forgiveness, and without any take the liberty to subscribe myself your Lordships
[Endorsed: ‘Nov.11.1760 Mr Smith with account of my Son Thomas his Complaint in his Eyes I sent this letter to the Bishop of Killala by post Nov. 20 1760. Answer’d Nov. 25. 1760’.]
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; unpubl.
Glasgow, 11 Nov. 1760
It was not in my Power to write to your Lordship by either of the two Last Posts. The hour that I had set aside for that purpose was broke in upon by business that would not allow a moments delay. Mr Fitzmaurices eyes are much better. He has been abroad, yesterday to take the air in a Post Chaise, today to attend his Classes. He is still, however, obliged to wear a piece of Black Silk over them and cannot yet venture to use them. He will probably be able to write to Lady Shelburne tomorrow or next day. I am your Lordships
[Endorsed: ‘Nov. 18. 1760 Mr Smith giving Account of the abatement of the Soreness in my Son Thomas his Eyes. Answer’d Nov. 25. 1760.’]
MS., Boston Public Libr., Mellen Chamberlain Autograph Collection Ch.h.12.13; Scott 254–5 (in part).
Glasgow, 30 Dec. 1760
The opposite leaf will set before your eyes the manifold sins and iniquities you have been guilty of in printing my book. The first six, at least the first, third and fourth and sixth are what you call sins against the holy Ghost which cannot upon any account be pardoned. The Remainder are capable of remission in case of repentance, humiliation and contrition. I should have sent you them sooner.
Remember me to Rose. Tell him I have not forgot what I promised him but have been excessively hurried. My Delay, I hope, will occasion him no inconvenienancy: if it does I shall be excessively concerned and shall order some papers I left in England to be given to him. They are not what I would wish them, but I had rather lose a little reputation with the public as let him suffer by my negligence. It will give me infinite pleasure to hear both from him and from you.
Remember me to Mrs Strahan and likewise to Dr Franklin and Son.
The following Errata must be corrected as totally disfiguring the sense
|17||22.||approbation. Read. disapprobation|
|188||12.||justness. Read justest.|
|ditto.||15.||utility – – – – inutility|
|201.||30.||pleased – – – – displeased|
|204.||10.||relations – – – retaliations|
|375.||10.||public or private – public to private|
Errata of less consequence
|13||23.||occasion. Read – occasioned.||[never corrected]|
|47||27 [l. 26].||interests. – – – – – interest.||[corrected ed. 4]|
|52||31 [l. 30].||the – – – – – – – – their.||[n.c.]|
|53||19||turn – – – – – – – his turn||[n.c.]|
|56||29||force – – – – – – forces||[ed. 4]|
|129||24||in every respect – – – and in every respect.||[ed. 6]|
|131||21||himself – – – – – – – myself||[ed. 3]|
|150||33||Tis – – – – – – – – – Its||[ed. 3]|
|161||6||last to all – – – – – last of all, to||[‘lastly’, ed. 6]|
|180||29||will – – – – – – – – – would||[ed. 6]|
|183||28 [l. 26]||the – – – – – – – – – this||[ed. 4]|
|185||2||consequence – – – – – consequences||[n.c.]|
|187||17||men – – – – – – – – – man||[n.c.]|
|190||3||efforts. – – – – – – – effort.||[n.c.]|
|211||18||to this – – – – – – – – – to do this.||[ed. 3]|
|219||27||this even – – – – – – – even this||[ed. 3]|
|220.||20||call – – – – – – – – – calls||[ed. 3]|
|252||30||loss of acquisition – – loss or acquisition.||[ed. 6]|
|289||21||his – – – – – – – – – this||[n.c.]|
|296||20 [l. 17]||measure or verse – – – – measure of verse||[n.c.]|
|306||26||these – – – – – – – – – the||[n.c.]|
|315||29 [l. 28]||the – – – – – – – – – – this||[ed. 3]|
|330||37 [l. 27]||subject – – – – – – – – subjects||[ed. 6]|
|349||30 [l. 29]||expose – – – – – – – – exposed||[ed. 3]|
|408||30||to what – – – – – – – Or to what.||[n.c.]|
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/140; unpubl.
St. Andrews, 6 June 1761
The post will bring this and a Letter from my Father at the same Time, Begging your Interest and Assistance in an Affair which deeply concerns us both. It will be needless for me to recapitulate the nature of this affair or the Circumstances which render the Success of our Sollicitation, much to be wished for and of great Importance to our Family.
The Multiplyed Civilities and Kindnesse’s I have receiv’d at Your Hands, have Emboldened me to Second my Father’s Letter to you, assuring you of my Gratitude for these Marks of your Goodness and Friendship to me.
I won’t follow the common System of Letters of Sollicitation in setting forth the merits of the Object for whom we Sollicit; If my Brother is honour’d by your University to be their Exhibitioner, He will come and remain at Glasgow to study with You and I flatter myself will give more Substantial proofs of his merit and Capacity than I would do were I to write a Quire of Paper upon the Head; Indeed these Encomiums are always fulsome, Ill timed, and Disagreeable.
As I have heard you say you compleated your Studys at Oxford, It will be needless for me to Display the many Unavoidable Expenses to which a Student of any Denomination is Liable but particularly a Lad of Rank and a Lively Spirit; These Motives Induced Lord Buchan to ask the first vacancy of the High Exhibitions that you are not Enter’d into Engagements for; as the Nature of an Entailed Estate does not Admitt of large Allowances to his Children; the Proffitts of the Exhibition would remove a part of the Expense which the Education of a Churchman Incurrs, and the Objections which were laid to my Brothers following The Strong Inclinations He has for the Church. I have taken the Liberty to Inclose a Letter to Mr Fitzmaurice, I beg you will Remember me to Mrs Smith, and Miss Douglass. I have heard nothing of Poor Dr Lindsay which makes me hope His Distemper has abated.
I Know your Usual Indulgence will Induce you to forgive my troubling you with this Letter So I finish this without any other Apology than Assuring You That I am
[signature cut out]
P.S. Pray Remember me Kindly to Mr Fitzmaurice. Something has c[ome] in the which prevents my writing this Post.
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/141; Scott 255.
Edinburgh, 24 June 1761
My Papa intended to have writ you this night himself but he is this day in particular so excessively hurried that he has not a moments time to sit down. He has therefore desired me to write for him. We are excessively sorry to hear that you have had the misfortune to lose Mr Buchanan. My Papa desires me to inform you that if you would desire a Successor to him, a young man of very good parts of a Literary turn one who has applied with Success to the Oriental Languages and one who would be contented with that Place alone you may find such a one in Dr Cumings Son Peter. I am Sir
MS., RSE ii. 31; HL i. 345–6.
Ninewells, 29 June 1761
As your Professorship of Hebrew is vacant, I have been applyd to in behalf of young Mr Cummin, and you are the Person with whom I am supposed to have some Interest. But as I imagine you will not put this Election on the Footing of Interest, I shall say nothing on that head; but shall speak much more to the Purpose, by informing you, that I have known Mr Cummin for some time, and have esteemed him a young Man of exceeding good Capacity, and of a Turn towards Literature. He tells me, that he has made the Oriental Tongues and particularly the Hebrew a Part of his Study and has made some Proficiency in them: But of this Fact, craving his Pardon, I must be allowed to entertain some Doubt: For if Hebrew Roots, as Cowley says, thrive best in barren Soil, he has a small Chance of producing any great Crop of them. But as you commonly regard the Professorship of Hebrew as a Step towards other Professorships, in which a good Capacity can better display itself; you will permit me to give it as my Opinion, that you will find it difficult to pitch on a young Man, who is more likely to be a Credit to your College, by his Knowledge and Industry.
I am so far on my Road to London, where I hope to see you this Season. I shall lodge in Miss Elliots Lisle Street Leicester Fields; and I beg it of you to let me hear from you the Moment of your Arrival. I am Dear Smith
MS., GUA University MSS. vol. 30. 62–5; Scott 200.
Glasgow July 15th 1761
I acquaint you and the other Professors by this that unless the Rector himself is to be present in the Meeting to preside there can be no meeting today as I have already resigned the Office of Vice–Rector. I likewise by this inform you that His Majesty has been graciously pleased by his Royal letter dated at St James’s the 6th of July to nominate me to be principal which I have also intimated to the Lord Rector and as soon as it can be done shall qualifye before the Presbytery and desire the Rector to call a meeting for my admission. Please to communicate this to all the Gentlemen my colleagues.
Sic Subscribitur Will. Leechman
MS., GUA University MSS. vol. 30. 95 (copy); James Coutts, A History of the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 1909), 243.
London, 27 Oct. 1761
I am this moment come from Lord Bute, and he desires me to inform the University that the King’s orders are that you immediately vacate Mr Rouets place de novo, and that every thing may be done in a legal way, as soon as that is done His Majesty will appoint a Successor. There is a Necessity of complying with this else it may be of the worst consequences to the University, I could do no more, I said all that was possible but to no effect. One thing Lord Bute told me is that he is engaged to no body, but that the man who is recommended as the fittest for filling the place properly will be his man. I beg to hear from you soon on this Subject, and I likewise hope our address will be Sent up immediately. With my compliments to all my friends I ever am
Sic Subs. Erroll
MS., Houghton Libr., Harvard, Eng. 870 (57) 124; unpubl.
Glasgow, 2 Nov. 1761
I am desired by the University to beg of you to consult Mr Wedderburn about the propriety of pushing a separate agreement with the Lessee in the way that I talked of to you, and to take his advice about every part of the future management of that affair. I shall write to Oxford to press the Agreement with Baliol College. I ever am
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/142; Scott 255–6.
Edinburgh, 5 Nov. 1761
Two or three days before I got your letter I happened to be applyed to by Mr Alexander Merchant here, to recommend a young man if I knew any fit to be tutor to his Son. I immediately carryed your letter to him and he is perfectly Satisfyed with the recommendation and I am well Satisfyed that as far as relates to Mr Alexander himself and his family your friend will have every reason to applaud his good fortune in meeting with him. He has very right Ideas with respect to his Children and very noble ones with respect to the person whom he trusts with the charge of them. He told me when he first mentioned this Subject that it would be a pleasure to him to meet with such a Young Man as he coud forward through life and that he woud not scruple to risk of his fortune in doing it if his Subject was promising. The only difficulty with Mr Alexander with respect to your Friend is that his view to Physic may carry him away from him sooner than he woud wish. And it may be a difficulty with your friend that the two boys of whom the charge is proposed to him are so young the one being eight and the other six but they are equally advanced being to begin the Latin together. He proposes that they shall attend the Public School while they have the advantage of a Tutor at home. He leaves the terms to you or me and will be inclined to increase them as the boys advance especially if that will induce a person to his mind to continue with him the full time. Remember me affectionately to J. Black and all friends with you. Youll please let me know your friends resolution when he had determined himself. I am Dear Sir
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/143; unpubl.
London, 12 Nov. 1761
[He has missed seeing Smith in London and wishes to have a place at the Board of Works. When he gets one, he will present his ‘new mathematical instruments’ to the King. He asks Smith to write a covering letter to the 2nd Earl of Shelburne to accompany a gift of ‘Volume Compasses’. He comments on the elder Pitts’ resignation as Prime Minister, Oct. 1761, as that of ‘too great and too violent a man to be a servant to a young King of our sovereign’s disposition’.]
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/144; unpubl.
Dunlop, 4 Jan. 1762
Please receive Mr Maupertuis works and at the Same time my most hearty thanks for having put me on a peice of reading that has given me So much pleasure—but however well he writes you must allow me to Say that the System he concludes his Venus physique with is every whit as unphilosophical as any of those he runs down and that in any other hand it must have made a very poor figure.
Pray did you observe how much he weakens his own Arguments for his new principle from which he deduces the Laws of motion Staticks and mechanicks Viz that the quantity of Action employ’d by nature is always a minimum. One cannot help being Struck by the notion of that universal Saving but when he applys the principle to Staticks One is Surpriz’d to find it either a maximum or a minimum.
Again I must thank you for the pleasure you have given me. I wish I could make you a proper return but I most Sincerely am
If you have any commands for our Side of the country I shall be glad to receive them. We Sett [? out] first fair day. My compliments to Mrs Smith.
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/145; unpubl.
St. Mary Hall, Oxford, Friday 26 Feb. 1762
I have this instant receiv’d your Letter of the 19th Inst. nor do I delay to give you any satisfaction that lies in my power. The Letter which you wrote to my Brother I saw and think that had it been for an Affair of £10,000 instead of £200 it could not have been more accurately drawn up, so anxious were you to clear yourself of what you imagin’d my Lady Shelburne thought was in you unfair dealing, which you were just as clear of before you took that trouble as anything could possibly make you, even in her Eyes. I give you my Word that the Account itself was found and I made that appear to my Mother to be perfectly exact and right which she once, Indeed I can assure you ’twas but for a very short time, by my giddiness thought was somewhat otherwise. The reason that I did not write to you sooner concerning this matter, was, because my Brother said he would write himself, which, tho’ he has not done I am not very much surpris’d upon account of his Politics which have of late been rather intricate, which by this time I dare say you must have heard of. During this last vacation of Dr Blackstones I spent five weeks in London. The two first I spent with My Lady Shelburne in Hanover Square, the 3 last with my Brother in a New House which he has taken in Hill Street late belonging to Lord Weymouth a very good one.
My Brother told me that he had had a letter from you to me inclos’d to him but that he had put it up with some other papers and could not get at it which was in shorter words that he had lost it, so that for the future as your Letters will always be very agreable to me and as they come but Seldom, I should be glad if, whether you have a Frank or no, you would send them to me directly to Oxford and the oft’ner they come, I need not assure you that they will be the more acceptable.
My Mother has desir’d me to ask you concerning the Epitaph which I told her you promis’d to take into Consideration but that you were not certain whether you could do it or no. I inclose to you a Letter from the Bishop of Killala to me concerning Godfrey which I shall tell him I leave entirely to you as being the most proper person in the World to get information from, should be glad if you would take the trouble to answer. I hope Mr Godfrey is going on well pray my Compliments to him. Your young People are in general rather brighter than they were in my time I’m told at present.
I attend Chapple very regularly and Dr. Blackstone more so whose Lectures during the next Summer I hope to make myself more Master of than I am at present.
I am oblig’d to you for delivering My Message to Prof. Wilson but have not as yet receiv’d the Thermometers.
Drs King and Smith and Riall are all well. They desire their Compliments to you.
The Expence of this place is prodigious. Tradesmen certainly make at least cent. per cent. of their Money here. I have often heard you say that Coals were very expensive here, it is very extraordinary that they have they have cost me since I came upwards of £12.
There is as much good Company here just now as have been for this many years.—Lord Pembrokes Affair with Miss Hunter makes a prodigious noise just now and indeed very Justly ’tis the oddest thing I ever heard of; They have [taken] his Regiment and his Bed–Chambership from him. They say he can never return to England again. The story is, if You should not have heard it, that he has run away with Miss. Hunter a young Lady of equal Beauty and Fashion. They say they are gone to Bremen in Germany. He did it with premeditation too. You know he is remarkable for having a very Handsome Wife a Daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, whom he never us’d well.
Pray have you seen Dr Louths English Grammar which is just come out? It is talk’d of much. Some of the ingenious men with whom this University overflows, are picking faults and finding Errors in it at present. Pray what do you think of it? I am going to read Harris’s Hermes now, having read this Grammar. I heard lately an objection to an Expression in your Book, which I think has some foundation. It is in the Beginning of the 1st Section upon Custom: the Expression is a Haunch Button, which is not, I imagine exactly English.
I saw your Friend Michael Ramsay in London as also young Alexander the Merchant just come from France, both of whom wer going to Scotland with one of Whom I intended to have sent a parcel containing Dr Blacks [? scale] of Faranheits Thermometer and a Book of Robin Foulis’s both of which were pack’d up without my knowledge. Pray make my Compliments to both these Gentlemen as likewise to all my other good Friends of the College. Pray how does Mrs Smith and Miss. Douglas do do not forget me, by any means to them and Believe me to be
P.S. I need not tell you that I shall be glad to hear from you as soon as may be Convenient, tho’ to you I think I may say rather sooner than that. Do not forget [me] to Doctor Simson my old Friend. Dr Johnston is, I hear, at last dead.
MS., Pierpont Morgan Libr., New York; unpubl.
Glasgow, Tuesday 9 Mar. 1762
This Letter will be delivered to you by Mr Trail who has been sent in from the College to consult your sage headpiece with regard to a point of Law along with Lockart. He has also directions to take a private advice from you with regard to a point which is not to be communicated to any other Person whatever. You will find him an excessive clever fellow, I therefor recommend him to you as an acquaintance as well as a client. Remember me respectfully to Mrs Johnstoune and believe me most faithfully yours
MS., GUL Gen. 1465/5; unpubl.
Glasgow, 9 Apr. 1762
I received some time ago a letter from Mr James Clarke in which he informed me that your Lordship had a long time before that sent him a letter of recommendation to your Son Mr Elliot, that, however, as he had no opportunity of going to London he had sent the Letter by a friend, imagining, I suppose, that it was necessary to deliver it immediately. Your Lordship will very easily excuse this impropriety in a very honest Tar who is not much acquainted with the way of the world. He is now of full standing to press for a Lieutenant and proposes to come to London soon in order to be examined for that purpose. By every account that I can hear he is perfectly well qualified and is, in every respect, a brave, honest and expert Seaman. He is extremely desirous that your Lordship should send him another letter to the same Purpose as the former and wrote to me to apply to you for that Purpose, which is the occasion of your getting this trouble. If your Lordship will be so good as to enclose that letter to me I shall send it to him by the first Post. He is doing well in every sense of the word and has even made a little money which he has disposed of in favour of his Sister. All the family, indeed, behave very well and I hope will do credit to their friends. I am My Lord, with very great respect,
MS., GUA MS/B/15625; unpubl.
Glasgow College, 15 June 1762
We have had of Late several remonstrances from the Exhibitioners on Snells foundation at Balliol College complaining that they yet enjoy but a very small part of the Advantages which they expect to derive from the late degree in Chancery and that those which they do enjoy are by no means the most essential. What they mean, no doubt, is that they have yet received no part of the augmentation of the pecuniary appointment which was decreed to them, which, I suppose, is occasioned by the delays which may have occurred in settling the conjunct Agreement. I wrote to Dr King of St. Mary Hall to apply to Balliol College to give orders to Mr Cater to give his consent to the Agreement, and received soon after enclosed in a letter from Dr. King an unsigned paper which in his letter he said was delivered to him by Mr Watkins of B.C. in which it was said that Balliol College was very well disposed towards the Agreement and that they would soon write to Mr Cater in such terms as was desired. In your letter to Mr Simson of the 8th of March last you say ‘that Balliol College has become very tractable of Late and we are going on quite amicably before the Master to settle the division of the lands the scheme of which I have laid before Mr Wedderburn as you desir’d and I hope it will be at last brought to a speedy conclusion’. My application to Dr King, therefore, I hope, has not been altogether ineffectual. We would beg to know at present what it is that hinders the final conclusion of this Agreement, in order that we may be able to give some satisfaction to the very natural and reasonable impatience of the young Gentlemen upon that foundation. In a letter of yours to Mr Simson of an earlier date than the foregoing, I think it was in the October preceeding, you seemed to think that if proper application was made to Balliol College, the conjunct agreement might be concluded in the ensuing term. I can very easily, however, imagine the difficulties which might occu[r] in the conduct of so very complex a transaction.
I write you this letter in the Presence and by the appointment of the University meeting, who likewise desire me to acquaint you that as our late worthy Collegue Dr Simson has resigned his office on account of his age, Dr Joseph Black Professor of Medicine is now Clerk to the University. The University meeting desires, theref[ore] that for the future you would correspond either with him or with me as you think proper. Remember me to Mr Wedderburn and tell him I have been long looking for a letter from him and believe me to be Sir
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/146; unpubl.
Slains Castle, 8 July 1762
I am Extremely Sorry to hear of the Death of poor Mr Buchanan. I Really think He will be a considerable Loss to the University as He was so rising a young man. If His Place is not already fill’d up I wou’d beg Leave to Recommend to the University, Mr James Crombie. I have heard a very good Character of him, and as to his Capacity you must Certainly know something of that as He has been at Glasgow with Mr Duffe. As to the other Affair about Mr Ruats place, the Memorial came at a time when my mind was so much taken up In attending Poor Lady Erroll, and as the fatal Event to me, soon follow’d, It was not In my power to do In It what I cou’d have wished, but I go to London In September, and then I hope I shall be able to put a favourable End to it. I am with great Esteem Dear Sir
MS., University of Illinois Libr., Rae 159–60.
Glasgow, 7 Feb. 1763
I have read over the contents of your friends work with very great pleasure, and heartily wish it was in my power to give or to procure him all the encouragement which his ingenuity and industry deserve. I think myself greatly obliged to him for the very obliging notice he has been pleased to take of me, and should be glad to contribute any thing in my power towards compleating his design. I approve greatly of his plan for a Rational Grammar and am convinced that a work of this kind executed with his abilities and industry, may prove not only the best System of Grammar, but the best System of Logic in any Language, as well as the best History of the natural progress of the Human mind in forming the most important abstractions upon which all reasoning depends. From the short abstract which Mr Ward has been so good as to send me, it is impossible for me to form any very decisive judgement concerning the propriety of every part of his method, particularly of some of his divisions. If I was to treat the same subject I should endeavour to begin with the consideration of Verbs; these being, in my apprehension, the original parts of speech, first invented to express in one word a compleat event; I should then have endeavoured to shew how the Subject was divided first from the Attribute; and afterwards, how the object was distinguished from both, and in this Manner I should have tried to investigate the origin and use of all the different parts of speech and of all their different modifications, considered as necessary to express all the different qualifications and relations of any single event. Mr Ward, however, may have excellent reasons for following his own method, and perhaps if I was engaged in the same task I should find it necessary to follow the same; things frequently appearing in a very different light when taken in a general view, which is the only view that I can pretend to have taken of them, and when considered in detail.
Mr Ward, when he mentions the definitions which different Authors have given of Nouns Substantive takes no notice of that of the Abbé Girard the Author of a Book called Les vrais principes de la Langue Françoise which made me think it might be possible that he had not seen it. It is the book which first set me a thinking upon these subjects and I have received more instruction from it than from any other I have yet seen upon them. If Mr Ward has not seen it, I have it at his Service. The Grammatical Articles too in the French Encyclopedie have given me a good deal of entertainment. Very probably Mr Ward has seen both these works and as he may have considered the subject more than I have done, may think less of them.
Remember me to Mrs Baird and Mr Oswald and believe me to be with great truth
MS., RSE vii. 31; Rae 161.
Glasgow, 22 Feb. 1763
This Letter will be presented to you by Mr Henry Herbert, a young Gentleman who is very well acquainted with your works, and upon that account extremely desirous of being introduced to the Author. As I am convinced that you will find him extremely agreable I shall make no apology for introducing him. He proposes to stay a few weeks in Edinburgh while the Company are in town and would be glad to have the liberty of calling upon you sometime when it suits your conveniency to receive him. If you indulge him in this, Both he and I will think ourselves infinitely obliged to you.
You have been long promising us a visit at Glasgow and I have made Mr Herbert promise to endeavour to bring you along with him. Tho you have resisted all my Sollicitations, I hope you will not resist this. I hope, I need not tell you that it will give me the greatest pleasure to see you. I ever am
MS., RSE ii. 32; HL i. 381.
Edinburgh, 28 Mar. 1763
I was obligd to you both for your kind Letter and for the Opportunity which you afforded me of making Acquaintance with Mr Herbert, who appears to me a very promising young man. I set up a Chaise in May next, which will give me the Liberty of travelling about; and you may be sure a Journey to Glasgow will be one of the first I shall undertake. I intend to require with great Strictness an Account how you have been employing your Leizure; and I desire you to be ready for that purpose. Wo be to you, if the Ballance be against you. Your Friends here will also expect, that I should bring you with me. It seems to me very long since I saw you. I am Dear Smith
MS., RSE ii. 33; HL i. 390–1.
Edinburgh, 21 July 1763
To–day is the grand Question decided by our Judges, whether they will admit of any farther Proof with regard to the Douglas Affair, or whether they will rest contented with the Proofs already produc’d. Their Partiality is palpable and astonishing; yet few people think, that they will dare to refuse enquiring into Facts so remarkable and so strongly attested. They are at present sitting, but I hope to tell you the Issue in a Postscript. Our friend, Johnstone, has wrote the most–super–excellentest Paper in the World, which he has promis’d to send to you this Evening in Franks. Please to deliver the enclosed to Colonel Barré. I am Dear Smith
MS., RSE ii. 33; HL i. 391–2.
Edinburgh, 9 Aug. 1763
I have got an Invitation, accompany’d with great Prospects and Expectations, from Lord Hartford, if I woud accompany him, tho’ at first without any Character, in his Embassy to Paris. I hesitated much on the Acceptance of this Offer, tho’ in Appearance very inviting; and I thought it ridiculous, at my Years, to be entering on a new Scene, and to put myself in the Lists as a Candidate of Fortune. But I reflected, that I had in a manner abjur’d all literary Occupations, that I resolvd to give up my future Life entirely to Amusements, that there could not be a better Pastime than such a Journey, especially with a Man of Lord Hertford’s Character, and that it wou’d be easy to prevent my Acceptance from having the least Appearance of Dependance: For these Reasons, and by the Advice of every Friend, whom I consulted, I at last agreed to accompany his Lordship, and I set out to morrow for London. I am a little hurry’d in my Preparations: But I coud not depart without bidding you Adieu, my good Friend, and without acquainting you with the Reasons of so sudden a Movement. I have not great Expectations of revisiting this Country soon; but I hope it will not be impossible but we may meet abroad, which will be a great Satisfaction to me. I am dear Smith
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/147; unpubl. (see Scott 68 n. 2)
Aberdeen, 11 Sept. 1763
I ought to have wrote before this to have acquainted you with my Direction, I am affraid my negligence may have lost me some Letters, the last I received was at Alloa, I hope none have been sent since that; pray keep those which shall arrive after this till my return; I have seen Dr Reed. He is a very sensible man. His Book is in the press and we may expect it out this Winter; Campbell David Humes Antagonist is an agreable man; I met Lord Marshall at Lord Panmures and was much taken with him. He imagines Rousseau may come over to Scotland but at present is too ill to travel; Lord Panmures Seat is the finest I have seen since my arrival in Scotland; I leave this Place to morrow. Lord Kames is already gone to Lord Des[k]fords at Bamf, I go first to Mr Ferguson of Pitfours where I stay a Day or two and from thence to Lord Des[k]fords,
I met Coll Gordon at the Ball here; my Compliments to all your Family and beleive me
MS., RSE ii. 35; HL i. 394–7.
Lisle Street, Leicester Fields, 13 Sept. 1763
The Settlement, which I had made in Scotland, was so much to my Mind, I had indeed struck Root so heartily, that it was with the outmost Reluctance I could think of transplanting myself; and I began to approach towards that Age, in which these Experiments become no longer practicable with Safety. I own, that, on my arrival in London, I found every Circumstance more inviting than I had reason to expect; particularly the Characters of Lord and Lady Hertford, who are allowd to be the two Persons the most unexceptionable among all the English Nobility. Even that Circumstance of Lord Hertford’s Character, his great Piety, ought to make my Connexions with him more agreeable, both because it is not attended with any thing sour and rigid, and because I draw the more Honour from his Choice, while he overlookd so many seeming Objections which lay against me on that head. My Fortune also receives a great Addition during Life from the Connexion; besides many Openings to Ambition, were I so simple as to be exposed to Temptation from that Passion. But notwithstanding all these Considerations; shall I tell you the Truth? I repine at my Loss of Ease and Leizure and Retirement and Independance, and it is not without a Sigh I look backwards nor without Reluctance that I cast my Eye forwards. Is this Sentiment an Instinct which admonishes me of the Situation most proper and suitable to me? Or is it a momentary Disgust, the Effect of low Spirits, which Company and Amusement and a better State of Health will soon dissipate and remove? I must wait with Patience, till I see the Decision of this Question.
I find, that one View of Lord Hertford in engaging me to go along with him, is that he thinks I may be useful to Lord Beauchamp in his Studies. That young Nobleman is generally spoke of as very amiable and very promising: But I remember, tho’ faintly, to have heard from you something to the contrary, which you had from that severe Critic, Mr Herbert. I shoud be obligd to you for informing me of it. I have not yet seen My Lord Beauchamp, who is at this time in Paris. We shall not leave London these three Weeks.
You have, no doubt, heard of the strange Jumble among our Ministers, and of the Negotiation open’d with Mr Pit. Never Story was told with such contrary Circumstances as that of his secret Conference with the King, and of the Terms demanded by that popular Leader. The general Outlines of the whole Story seem to be these. Lord Bute disgusted with the Ministers, who had almost universally conspird to neglect him, and suspecting their bottom to be too narrow, had, before Lord Egremont’s Death, opend a Negotiation with Mr Pit, by means of Lord Shelburn, who employ’d Colcraft, the Agent. Mr Pit says, that he always declard it highly improper that he should be brought to the King, before all Terms were settled on such a Footing as to render it impossible for them to separate without agreeing. He accordingly thought they were settled: His first Conference with the King confirm’d him in that Opinion, and he wrote to the Duke of Devonshire to come to Town in order to place himself at the head of the Treasury: The Duke of Newcastle said at his Table, on Sunday was a Fortnight, that the Ministry was settled: But when Mr Pit came to the King that Afternoon, he found him entirely chang’d, and every thing was retracted, that had been agreed on. This is his Story: The other Party says, that he rose in his Terms and wanted to impose the most exorbitant Conditions on his Sovereign. I suppose, that the first Conference pass’d chiefly in generals, and that Mr Pit would then be extremely humble and submissive and polite and dutiful in his Expressions: But when he came to particulars, they did not seem to correspond to these Appearances. At least, this is the best Account I can devise of the Matter, consistent with the Honour of both Parties.
You woud see the present Ministry by the Papers. It is pretended, that they are enragd against Lord Bute for negotiating without their Knowledge or Consent; and that the other Party are no less displeasd with him for not finishing the Treaty with them. That Nobleman declard his Resolution of going abroad a week or two ago: Now, he is determind to pass the Winter in London. Our Countymen are visibly hurt in this Justle of Parties; which I believe to be far from the Intentions of Lord Bute.
Lord Shelburne resignd because he found himself obnoxious on account of his Share in the Negotiation. I see you are much displeasd with that Nobleman but he always speaks of you with regard. I hear that your Pupil, Mr Fitzmaurice, makes a very good figure at Paris.
It is generally thought, that Mr Pit has gaind Credit and Force by this Negotiation. It turns the Eyes of the Public towards him: It shows that the King can overlook personal Resentment against him and Lord Temple. It gains him the Confidence of his own Party, who see that he was negotiating for the whole of them: And puts People in mind of the French Rhyme Ville qui parle et femme qui ecoute &c.
You wou’d hear, that the Case of the Douglas is now made clear even in the Eyes the most blinded and most prejudicd; which I am glad of, on account of our Friends. I am Dear Smith
MS., GUL Gen. 1464/8; Rae 164–5.
Adderbury, 25 Oct. 1763
The time now drawing near when the Duke of Buccleugh intends to go abroad, I take the liberty of renewing the subject to you: that if you should still have the same disposition to travel with him I may have the satisfaction of informing Lady Dalkeith and His Grace of it, and of congratulating them upon an event which I know that they, as well as myself, have so much at heart. The Duke is now at Eton: He will remain there until Christmass. He will then spend some short time in London, that he may be presented at Court, and not pass instantaneously from school to a foreign country; but it were to be wished He should not be long in Town, exposed to the habits and companions of London, before his mind has been more formed and better guarded by education and experience.
I do not enter at this moment upon the subject of establishment, because if you have no objection to the situation, I know we cannot differ about the terms. On the contrary, you will find me more sollicitous than yourself to make the connection with Buccleugh as satisfactory and advantageous to you as I am persuaded it will be essentially beneficial to him.
The Duke of Buccleugh has lately made great progress both in his knowledge of ancient languages and in his general taste for composition. With these improvements his amusement from reading and his love of instruction have naturally increased. He has sufficient talents: a very manly temper, and an integrity of heart and reverence for truth, which in a person of his rank and fortune are the firmest foundation of weight in life and uniform greatness. If it should be agreeable to you to finish his education, and mould these excellent materials into a settled character, I make no doubt but he will return to his family and country the very man our fondest hopes have fancied him.
I go to Town next Friday, and should be obliged to you for your answer to this letter.—I am, with sincere affection and esteem, dear sir, your most faithful and most obedient humble servant,
Lady Dalkeith presents her compliments to you.
MS., RSE ii. 36; HL i. 407–10.
Fontainebleau, 28 Oct. 1763
I have been three days at Paris and two at Fontainbleau; and have every where met with the most extraordinary Honours which the most exorbitant Vanity cou’d wish or desire. The Compliments of Dukes and Marischals of France and foreign Ambassadors go for nothing with me at present: I retain a Relish for no kind of Flattery but that which comes from the Ladies. All the Courtiers, who stood around when I was introduc’d to Me de Pompadour, assurd me that she was never heard [?] to say so much to any Man; and her Brother, [words obliterated] But I forget already, that I am to scorn all the Civilities. [ ] However, even Me Pompadour’s Civilities were, if possible, exceeded by those of the Dutchess de Choiseul, the Wife of the Favourite and prime Minister, and one of the Lady of the most distinguish’d Merit in France. Not contented with the very obliging things she said to me on my first Introduction, she sent to call me from the other End of the Room, in order to repeat them and to enter into a short Conversation with me: And not contented with that, she sent the Danish Ambassador after me to assure me, that what she said was not from Politeness, but that she seriously desir’d to be in Friendship and Correspondence with me. There is not a Courtier in France, who wou’d not have been transported with Joy, to have had the half of these obliging things said to him, by either of these great Ladies; but what may appear more extraordinary, both of them, as far as I could conjecture, have read with some Care all my Writings that have been translated into French, that is, almost all my Writings. The King said nothing particular to me, when I was introduced to him; and (can you imagine it) I was becoming so silly as to be a little mortify’d by it, till they told me, that he never says any thing to any body, the first time he sees them. The Dauphin as I am told from all hands, declares himself on every Occasion very strongly in my favour; and many people assure me, that I have reason to be proud of his Judgement, even were he an Individual. I have scarce seen any of the Geniuses of Paris, who, I think, have in general great Merit, as Men of Letters. But every body is forward to tell me the high Panegyrics I receive from [them;] and you may believe that [words obliterated] Approbation which has procur’d me all these Civilities from the Courtiers.
I know you are ready to ask me, my dear Friend, if all this does not make me very happy: No, I feel little or no Difference. As this is the first Letter I write to my Friends at home, I have amus’d myself (and hope I have amus’d you) by giving you a very abridg’d Account of these Transactions: But can I ever forget, that it is the very same Species, that wou’d scarce show me common Civilities a very few Years ago at Edinburgh, who now receive me with such Applauses at Paris? I assure you I reap more internal Satisfaction from the very amiable Manners and Character of the Family in which I live (I mean Lord and Lady Hertford and Lord Beauchamp) than from all these external Vanities; and it is that domestic Enjoyment which must be considerd as the agreeable Circumstance in my Situation. During the two last days in particular, that I have been at Fontainebleau, I have sufferd (the Expression is not improper) as much Flattery as almost any man has ever done in the same time: But there are few days in my Life, when I have been in good Health, that I would not rather pass over again. Mr Neville, our Minister, an honest worthy English Gentleman, who carry’d me about, was astonishd at the Civilities I met with; and has assurd me, that, on his Return, he will not fail to inform the King of England and the English Ministry of all these particulars. But enough of all these Follies. You see I trust to your Friendship, that you will forgive me; and to your Discretion, that you will keep my Secret.
I had almost forgot in these Effusions, shall I say of my Misanthropy or my Vanity, to mention the Subject which first put my Pen in my hand. The Baron d’Holbac, whom I saw at Paris, told me, that there was one under his Eye that was translating your Theory of moral Sentiments; and desird me to inform you of it: Mr Fitzmaurice, your old Friend, interests himself strongly in this Undertaking: Both of them wish to know, if you propose to make any Alterations on the Work, and desire you to inform me of your Intentions in that particular. Please direct to me under Cover to the Earl of Hertford at Northumberland House, London. Letters so directed will be sent to us at Paris. I desire my Compliments to all Friends.
Fraser, Scotts of Buccleuch, ii. 403; Rae 168–9.
Glasgow, 12 Dec. 1763
The day before I received your last letter I had the honour of a letter from Charles Townshend, renewing in the most obliging manner his former proposal that I should travel with the Duke of Buccleugh, and informing me that his Grace was to leave Eton at Christmas, and would go abroad very soon after that. I accepted the proposal, but at the same time expressed to Mr Townshend the difficulties I should have in leaving the University before the beginning of April, and begged to know if my attendance upon his Grace would be necessary before that time. I have yet received no answer to that letter, which, I suppose, is owing to this, that his Grace is not yet come from Eton, and that nothing is yet settled with regard to the time of his going abroad. I delayed answering your letter till I should be able to inform you at what time I should have the pleasure of seeing you. . . . I ever am, my dearest friend, most faithfully yours,
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/148; Scott 256–7.
Glasgow, 23 Jan. 1764
Inclosed I send you a letter from Ireland and the one to my Brother which you may deliver when you please. Mrs Smith and Miss Douglass are perfectly well and you made your Mother very happy with the letter which came last night. She was particularly overjoyed at the hint that your stay abroad was not to be so long as you expected. She begs you will write as often as you can. I received your line from Edinburgh about Balfour and as to the affair of the House. Mrs Smith will certainly be allowed to stay in it untill martinmass and it is even probable she may keep it untill the whitsunday after. T. Young performs admirably well and is much respected by the Students—
Yours Joseph Black
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/149; Scott 257.
Glasgow, 2 Feb. 1764
I write this to you, with the concurrence of Dr Black to acquaint you of the State of our affairs since you left us. Dr Reid at Aberdeen has been strongly recommended by Lord Kames. He is also recommended to Dr Traill by Lord Deskford. There is great reason to believe that interest will be used from all these different quarters with Mr. Mckenzie. Possibly too the Duke of Queensberry and Lord Hopeton will be engaged in his behalf, the consequence of which in the present state of things is altogether uncertain.
Black and I still think that Young is by far the best man who has appeared; for Morehead refuses to accept. We earnestly beg that if you can do any thing in counterworking these extraneous operations you will exert yourself. I cannot but say that we join also in wishing that if you know any place where your opinion of Young would be of Service, you would take an opportunity of giving it. I can assure you he needs that assistance. There is now a strong circumstance in his favour which we could not know formerly. He has taught the class hitherto with great and universal applause, and by all accounts discovers an ease and fluency in Speaking which, I own, I scarce expected. No body knows of my writing this but Black. Yours sincerely
Your mother is in good health.
MS., GUA University MSS. vol. 31. 13; Rae 172; Scott 220–1.
Paris, 14 Feb. 1764
I take this first opportunity, after my arrival in this Place, which was not till yesterday to resign my Office into the hands of Your Lordship, of the Dean of Faculty, of the Principal of the College and of all my other most respectable and worthy collegues. Into Your and their hands therefor I do hereby resign my Office of Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow and in the College thereof, with all the emoluments Privileges and advantages which belong to it. I reserve however my Right to the Salary for the current half year which commenced at the 10th of October for one part of my salary and at Martinmass last for another; and I desire that this Salary may be paid to the Gentleman who does that part of my Duty which I was obliged to leave undone, in the manner agreed on between my very worthy Collegues and me before we parted. I never was more anxious for the Good of the College than at this moment and I sincerely wish that whoever is my Successor may not only do Credit to the Office by his Abilities but be a comfort to the very excellent Men with whom he is likely to spend his life, by the Probity of his heart and the Goodness of his Temper.
MS., RSE vii. 32; Rae 178–9.
Toulouse, 5 July 1764
The Duke of Buccleugh proposes soon to set out for Bordeaux where he intends to stay a fortnight or more. I should be much obliged to you if you could send us recommendations to the Duke of Richelieu, the Marquis de Lorges and Intendant of the Province. Mr Townshend assured me that the Duke de Choiseul was to recommend us to all the people of fashion here and everywhere else in France. We have heard nothing, however, of these recommendations and have had our way to make as well as we could by the help of the Abbé who is a Stranger here almost as much as we. The Progress, indeed, we have made is not very great. The Duke is acquainted with no french man whatever. I cannot cultivate the acquaintance of the few with whom I am acquainted, as I cannot bring them to our house and am not always at liberty to go to theirs. The Life which I led at Glasgow was a pleasurable, dissipated life in comparison of that which I lead here at Present. I have begun to write a book in order to pass away the time. You may believe I have very little to do. If Sir James would come and spend a month with us in his travels it would not only be a great Satisfaction to me but he might by his influence and example be of great service to the Duke. Mention these matters, however, to nobody but to him. Remember me in the most respectful manner to Lord Beauchamp and to Dr Trail and believe me my Dear Friend
MS., RSE vii. 33; Rae 181–2.
Toulouse, 21 Oct. 1764
I take this opportunity of Mr Cooks going to Paris to return to you, and thro’ you, to the Ambassador, my very sincere and hearty thanks for the very honourable manner in which he was so good as to mention me to the Duke of Richelieu in the letter of recommendation which you sent us. There was indeed one small mistake in it. He called me Robinson instead of Smith. I took upon me to correct this mistake myself before the Duke delivered the letter. We were all treated by the Marechal with the utmost Politeness and attention, particularly the Duke whom he distinguished in a very proper manner. The intendant was not at Bordeaux, but we shall soon have an opportunity of delivering his letter as we propose to return that Place in order to meet my Lords Brother.
Mr Cook goes to Caen to wait upon Mr Scot, and to attend him from that place to Toulouse. He will pass by Paris, and I must beg the favour of you that as soon as you understand he is in town you will be so good as to call upon him and carry him to the Ambassadours as well as to any other Place where he would chuse to go. I must beg the same favour of Sir James. Mr Cook will let you know when he comes to town. I have great reason to entertain a most favorable opinion of Mr Scot, [and] I flatter myself, his company will be both useful and agreable to his Brother. Our expedition to Bordeaux, and another we have made since to Bagneres, has made a great change upon the Duke. He begins now to familiarize himself to French company and I flatter myself I shall spend the rest of the Time we are to live together, not only in Peace and contentment but in gayety and amusement.
When Mr Scot joins us we propose to go to see the meeting of the States of Languedoc, at Montpelier. Could you procure us recommendations to the Comte d’Eu to the Archbishop of Narbonne and to the Intendant? These expeditions, I find, are of the greatest service to My Lord. I ever am my Dear friend most Faithfully yours
MS., RSE vii. 34; Rae 183.
Toulouse, 04 Nov. 1764
This letter will be delivered to you by Mr Urquhart, the only man I ever knew that had a better temper than yourself. You will find him most perfectly amiable. I recommend him in the most earnest manner to your advice and protection. He is not a man of letters and is just a plain, sensible, agreeable man of no pretentions of any kind, but whom you will love everyday better and better. I ever am
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/150; Scott 258–9.
Glasgow, 5 Nov. 1764
I have at different Times had the Pleasure of hearing of your wellfare Since you left Glasgow, altho not favoured with any Letter from yourself. I hope that your Time passes agreeably and that you are bringing forward at your Leisure Hours the usefull work that was so well advanced here. It would be a Pity to want it longer than you find necessary to finish it to your own liking, as it may then very safely make its appearance.
This I send under cover to Mr George Kippen of this Place who I expect will be at London about the Time this gets there as he sett out from Glasgow on the 29th of last Month with an Intention to go from London to France in order to pass the Winter in one of the Southern provinces of that Kingdom for the Benefit of his Health which for upwards of a year has been very indifferent But which Doctor Black thinks will be greatly benefited by the exercise that he gets in this journey thither and which the Mildness of the Winter Season in the South of France will permit his taking in these Months that you know are too unfavourable here for Valetudinary people to go much abroad. Mrs Kippen goes along with Mr Kippen as does Mr Clawson whom you probably have known at the university here and who will make an agreeable Companion to Him.
You no doubt are Accquainted with Mr Kippens Character and usefullness in Society which makes it unnecessary for me to say much in Recommendation of Him to your Civilities if he fixes at Tholouse or its neighbourhood. I know that he can depend on your best advice and friendship in directing him to a proper House to lodge in That they may have as many of the conveniences as are to be afforded to Strangers in their Situation.
You no doubt know that your friend Mr William Smith came to the Incle factory Warehouse as was proposed before you left Glasgow where he gives application and seems in general very qualified for Business of that sort. His younger Brother is gone upon a Voyage in one of my Ships from hence to Havre de grace and from thence to Maryland and back to this place with an Intention to keep at Sea if this trying voyage pleases Him.
I referr you to some of your other Correspondents for any News that are going here. Indeed I do not remember any worth noticing to you and my now writing you except that the Members for Scotland seem now resolved to carry the Bill for abolishing the optional Clause in Bank and Bankers notes this ensuing Session which you know was drop’d in the Last. I am with great regard
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/129; Scott 262–3.
[? Toulouse, Aug. 1765]
Nothing has alarmed us so much among all the late extraordinary changes, as Lord Hertford quitting Paris and Lord George Lenox being appointed secretary to the English Embassy. Let me beg to know immediately if you leave Paris likewise, and if any proper provision has been made for you. We propose being at Paris by the beginning of November and it will be the greatest disappointment to the Duke of Buccleugh not to find you there. He has read almost all your works several times over, and was it not for the more wholesome doctrine which I take care to instill into him, I am afraid he might be in danger of adopting some of your wicked Principles. You will find him very much improved.
I should be glad to know the causes of this astonishing change. It appears at present quite a riddle to me unless the Queen is supposed to take a little more upon her than usual. I beg to hear from you as soon as Possible.
MS., RSE ii. 37; NHL 130–2.
Paris, 5 [Sept.] 1765
I have been whirled about lately in a strange Manner; but besides that none of the Revolutions have ever threatened me much, or been able to give me a Moment’s Anxiety, all has ended very happily and to my wish. In June last, I got my Patent for Secretary to the Embassy, which plac’d me in as agreeable a situation as possible, and one likely to last, with 1200 a year. A few Weeks after, Lord Hertford got a Letter from which he learnd, that he must go over Lord Lieutenant to Ireland; he told me, that he was averse to this Employment for many good Reasons, and wou’d not accept of it unless gratifyd in some Demands, particularly in appointing me Secretary for that kingdom, in conjunct Commission with his son, Lord Beauchamp. This is an Office of great Dignity, as the Secretary is in a manner Prime Minister of that kingdom, it has 2000 a year Sallary, and always entitles the Person afterwards to some considerable Employment, whatever may be the Fate of the Lord Lieutenant. Notwithstanding these Advantages, I was very averse to the office, as it obligd me to enter on a new Scene at my Years, and a Scene for which, I appre[he]nded I was not well qualifyd. I said so to Lord Hertford; but he still persisted in his Resolution. A few Weeks after, when he went over to London, he found the Rage against the Scots so high, that he was oblig’d to depart from his Resolution: Perhaps, the zeal against Deists enter’d for a Share. On the whole, he appointed his Son, sole Secretary; but he told me that he had obtaind the King’s Promise to provide me in Something that shou’d not be precarious. Ten days after, he wrote me that he had procured me a Pension of 400 a Year for Life. Nothing coud be more to my Mind: I have now Opulence and Liberty: The last formerly renderd me content: Both together must do so, so far as the Encrease of Years will permit.
I stay here till the Arrival of the Duke of Richmond, which will be sometime in October, after which I must soon return to England: I shall set out thence in a Visit to Ireland. I decline all farther Engagements. Lord Hertford wrote me, that the Office of Usher to the House of Commons in Ireland commonly yielded 900 during a Session: He coud get one to serve for 300 and destind the rest for me, if I pleas’d: But I have refusd this Emolument, because I woud not run into the Ways of the World and catch at Profit from all hands. I am sure you approve of my Philosophy.
As a new Vexation to temper my good Fortune, I am much in Perplexity about fixing the Place of my future Abode for Life. Paris is the most agreeable Town in Europe, and suits me best; but it is a foreign Country. London is the Capital of my own Country; but it never pleasd me much. Letters are there held in no honour: Scotsmen are hated: Superstition and Ignorance gain Ground daily. Edinburgh has many Objections and many Allurements. My present Mind, this Forenoon the fifth of September is to return to France. I am much pressd here to accept of Offers, which woud contribute to my agreeable Living, but might encroach on my Independence, by making me enter into Engagements with Princes and great Lords and Ladies. Pray give me your Judgement.
I regreat much I shall not see you. I have been looking for you every day these three Months. Your Satisfaction in your Pupil gives me equal Satisfaction.
You must direct to me under the Title of Chargé des Affaires d’Angleterre à la Cour de France, without anything farther.
I cannot by the Post enter into a Detail of our late strange Revolutions: But it is suspected, that the Accession of Mr Pit will be necessary to give Stability to the present Ministry.
The Duke of Richmond coud not appoint me Secretary. He coud appoint none but his Brother, without affronting Sir Charles Bunbury, his Brother in law, who had been rejected by Lord Hertford.
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/130 (portions cut out); Scott 263–4.
[? Toulouse, Sept. 1765]
It gives me the Greatest pleasure to find that you are so well contented with your present situation. I think however you are wrong in thinking of settling at Paris. A man is always displaced in a forreign Country, and notwithstanding the boasted humanity and politeness of this Nation, they appear to me to be, in general, more meanly interested, and that the cordiality of their friendship is much less to be depended on than that of our own countrymen. They live in such large societies and their affections are dissipated among so great a variety of objects, that they can bestow but a very small share of them upon any individual. Do not imagine that the great Princes and Ladies who want you to live with them make this proposal from real and sincere affection to you. They mean nothing but to gratify their own vanity by having an illustrious man in their house, and you would soon feel the want of that cordial and trusty affection which you enjoyed in the family of Lord and Lady Hertford, to whom I must beg to be remembered in the most dutiful and respectful manner. Your objections to London appear to me to be without foundation. The hatred of Scotch men can subsist, even at present, among nobody but the stupidest of the People, and is such a piece of nonsense that it must fall even among them in a twelvemonth. The Clamour against you on account of Deism is stronger, no doubt, at London where you are a Native and consequently may be a candidate for everything, than at Paris where as a forreigner, you possibly can be a candidate for nothing. Your Presence dissipated in six months time much stronger prejudices in Edinburgh, and when you appear at Court, in open day light, as you must do upon your return, and not live obscurely at Miss Elliots with six or seven scotchmen as before, the same irresistible good temper will in a very few weeks dissipate much weaker prejudices at London and [ ] to hold their tongues. In short I have a very great interest in your settling at London, where, after many firm resolutions to return to Scotland, I think it is most likely I shall settle myself. Let us make short excursions together sometimes to see our friends in France and sometimes to see our friends in Scotland, but let London be the place of our ordinary residence. Before you set out from Paris I would beg of you to leave me some letters to honest men and women. You may leave them either with Foley or with Thellason and Neckar, to be delivered on my arrival at paris. The Duke desires to be remembered[ ]
MS., GUL Bi 15–d.8; Scott 260–1; Voltaire, Corr. (1960), lix. 255–6.
Ferney, 10–11 Dec. 1765
Samedy 7e du mois, vers les onze heures du matin, les gardes chasses de Madame Denis, Dame de ferney, vinrent avertir que des gens du Village de Saconnex chassaient au nombre de cinq dans les allées du bois de ferney qui est fermé de trois portes, et qui fait partie des jardins du château de ferney.
Joseph Fillon, charpentier, demeurant à Saconnez, a déposé aujourd’hui 10 Decembré devant le procureur fiscal, que c’était Monsieur Dillon qui était venu le prendre à Saconney, avec un soldat de la garnison de genêve pour le mener chasser avec lui à ferney. Que lui, Joseph Fillon, lui avait réprésenté que celà n’était pas permis; que Monsieur Dillon lui répondit que Madame Denis lui avait donné la permission et qu’il lui répondait de tout.
Quatre personnes ont déposés que Monsieur Dillon a dit en leur présence, qu’il mettrait le feu au château.
Trois personnes ont déposé que Monsieur Dillon était venu à midy dans le village de fernex hier 9e du présent mois avec quatre personnes armées de fusils et de pistolets, qu’ils sont entrés chez le garde, qu’ils l’ont cherché chez lui et dans les maisons voisines et que Monsieur Dillon a dit en jurant qu’il l’aurait mort ou vif. Madame Denis fait juges de ces procédés tous les gentils hommes anglais qui sont à genêve.
Monsieur Dillon se plaint qu’on a tué un de ses chiens de chasse; mais ce ne sont pas les gardes qui l’ont tué puisqu’il fut tué pendant que les gardes faisaient leur raport juridique, et qu’il le fut par les gens du village de ferney, qui croyaient que ce chien appartenait à un braconier nommé Simon, du village D’Ornex, et qu’ils ne pouvaient pas savoir que ce chien avait été vendu quatre jours auparavant à Monsieur Dillon qu’ils ne connaissaient pas et qu’ils n’avaient jamais vû.
Il résulte de tous ces faits déposés dans le procez, que Monsieur Dillon doit réparer L’insulte faite à Madame Denis et payer les frais du procez qui tombe sur les habitants de Sacconey.
NB: Le garde chasse chez lequel Monsieur Dillon alla avec main forte à ferney, aiant voulu se dérober à sa poursuitte, s’est cassé les reins, et est en danger de la vie.
Madame Denis comptait envoier ce mémoire hier à Monsieur Schmidt; elle avait dicté quatre mots pour être mis au bas du mémoire; on les a par inadvertance écrit sur une Lettre séparée. Madame Denis répète qu’elle s’en raporte à la morale de Monsieur Schmidt, et au jugement de toute la noblesse anglaise qui est à genêve; elle lui présente ses obéïssances ainsi que Monsieur De Voltaire.
a Ferney 11 Décembre 1765.
MS., RSE ii. 38; HL ii. 5–6.
[London, ? end of Jan. 1766]
I can write as seldom and as Short as you—I am sorry I did not see you before I left Paris. I am also sorry I shall not see you there soon. I shall not be able to fix Rousseau to his Mind for some Weeks yet: He is a little variable and fanciful, tho’ very agreeable. Lord Hertford is to be over some time in April. I must then wait for him; and afterwards must be dispos’d of, for some time, by his Commands. I recommended my Servant St Jean to you: If he be with you or the Duke, I am sure you will like him and keep him on; and you need say nothing of this to him. But if you did not engage him, please send to him and tell him, that as I cannot promise on my Return to Paris soon, I do not wish he woud deprive himself of any other good Service that offers. He lives at Collet’s, a Hirer of Coaches in the Rue des vieux Augustins, a few Doors from the Hotel du Parc roiale where you intended to lodge. He is known either by the Name of St Jean or Jean Garneaux—Some push me to continue my History. Millar offers me any Price: All the Marlborough Papers are offerd me. And I believe no body woud venture to refuse me: But cui bono? Why shoud I forgo Idleness and Sauntering and Society; and expose myself again to the Clamours of a stupid, factious Public? I am not yet tir’d of doing nothing; and am become too wise either to mind Censure or Applause. By and bye I shall be too old to undergo so much Labour: Adieu
MS., Buccleuch Collection (acc. to Scott); Scott 109–10.
[? Toulouse,] 18 Feb. 1766
Et toi, Adam Smith, Philosophe de Glascow, héros et idole des highbroad Ladys, que fais–tu, mon cher ami? Comment gouvernes–tu La Duchesse d’Anville et Mad. de Bouflers, ou ton coeur est–il toujours épris des charmes de Mad. Nicol et des appas tant apparens que cachés de cetter autre dame de fife que vous aimiéz tant? Ne puis–je recevoir de vos nouvelles, milord? Si vous ne vouléz pas écrire vous–même, parce que vous êtes paresseux ou parce que vous griffonéz comme un chat ou, ce qui est pire, comme un duc, si Adam Smith ne veut pas m’écrire par les mêmes raisons, si l’honorable M. Scot garde aussi le silence, dites au moins à quelcun de votre maison de me mander quelque chose de votre part; je suis chargé de savoir si vois devéz rester à Paris cet hyver ou si vous alléz courir le monde, j’ai promis de m’en informer. Si les ecrivains vous manquent, vous avèz mon ami et Cousin, Duncan le Piper, qui me mandera en Erse tout ce que vous voudréz me faire savoir, et m’enverra un morceau digne de fingal, d’oscian ou de Mac Ullin.
Le Gr[and] Vic[aire] Eccossois, fait en congregation
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/131; Scott 264–5.
Hotel du Parc Royale, Paris, 13 Mar. 1766
I am much obliged to you for recommending your Servant to me. He is without exception the best I ever had in my life and I have always been very well serv’d. The main Purpose of this letter is to recommend the bearer to your Protection. He has served the Duke of Buccleugh with the most acknowledged fidelity ever since he came abroad, and has been driven out of his service by the jealousy and ill humour of Cook the Dukes Maitre d’Hotel. I will answer both for his honesty and his good nature which is such that I should have thought it impossible for any human creature to dislike him. He is very young and is upon that account thoughtless and sometimes negligent. His great perfection is as a travelling Servant. If it falls in your way easily, and without giving yourself any trouble, to recommend him to a proper place in England, you may perfectly depend upon his possessing all the above mentioned qualities in a very high degree. His name is David Challende he is a Suisse.
You are much wanted in Paris. Everybody I see enquires after the time of your return. Do not, however, for gods sake, think of settling in this country but let both of us spend the remainder of our days on the same side of the Water. Come, however, to Paris in the mean time and we shall settle the plan of our future life together. I ever am
MS., RSE vii. 35; Rae 208; HL ii. 409.
Paris, 6 July 1766
I am thoroughly convinced that Rousseau is as great a Rascal as you, and as every man here believes him to be; yet let me beg of you not to think of publishing anything to the world upon the very great impertinence which he has been guilty of to you. By refusing the Pension which you had the goodness to sollicit for him with his own consent, he may have thrown, by the baseness of his Proceeding some little ridicule upon you in the eyes of the Court and the ministry. Stand this ridicule, expose his brutal letter, but without giving it out of your own hand so that it may never be printed, and if you can, laugh at yourself, and I shall pawn my life that before three weeks are at an end, this little affair, which at present gives you so much uneasiness, shall be understood to do you as much honor as any thing that has ever happened to you. By endeavouring to unmask before the Public this hypocritical Pedant, you run the risk, of disturbing the tranquillity of your whole life. By letting him alone he cannot give you a fortnights uneasiness. To write against him, is, you may depend upon it, the very thing he wishes you to do. He is in danger of falling into obscurity in England and he hopes to make himself considerable by provoking an illustrious adversary. He will have a great party. The church, the Whigs, the Jacobites, the whole wise English nation, who will love to mortify a Scotchman, and to applaud a man that has refused a Pension from the King. It is not unlikely too that they may pay him very well for having refused it, and that even he may have had in view this compensation. Your whole friends here wish you not to write, the Baron, D’Alembert, Madame Riccaboni, Mademoiselle Riancourt, Mr Turgot etc. etc. Mr Turgot, a friend every way worthy of you, desired me to recommend this advice to you in a Particular manner, as his most earnest entreaty and opinion. He and I are both afraid that you are surrounded with evil counsellours, and that the Advice of your English literati, who are themselves accustomed to publish all their little gossiping stories in Newspapers, may have too much influence upon you. Remember me to Mr Walpole and believe me to be with the most sincere affection ever yours
Make my apology to Millar for not having yet answered his last very kind letter. I am preparing the Answer to it which he will certainly receive by next post. Remember me to Mrs Millar Do you ever see Mr Townshend.
Compiègne, Wednesday, 5 o’clock afternoon, 26 Aug. 1766
It is, you may believe, with the greatest concern that I find myself obliged to give you an account of a slight fever from which the Duke of Buccleugh is not yet entirely recovered, tho’ it is this day very much abated. He came here to see the camp and to hunt with the King and the Court. On Thursday last he returned from hunting about seven at night very hungry, and eat heartily of a cold supper, with a vast quantity of sallad, and drank some cold punch after it. This supper, it seems, disagreed with him. He had no appetite next day, but appeared well and hearty as usual. He found himself uneasy in the field, and returned home before the rest of the company. He dined with my Lord George Lennox, and, as he tells me eat heartily. He found himself very much fatigued after dinner, and threw himself upon his servant’s bed. He slept there about an hour, awaked about eight at night in a good deal of disorder. He vomited, but not enough to relieve him. I found his pulse extremely quick; he went to bed immediately and drank some vinegar whey, quite confident that a night’s rest and a sweat, his usual remedy, would relieve him. He slept little that night but sweat profusely. The moment I saw him next day (Sunday) I was sure he had a fever, and begged of him to send for a physician. He refused a long time, but at last, upon seeing me uneasy, consented. I sent for Quenay, first ordinary physician to the King. He sent me word he was ill. I then sent for Senac; he was ill likewise. I went to Quenay myself to beg that, notwithstanding his illness, which was not dangerous, he would come to see the Duke. He told me he was an old infirm man, whose attendance could not be depended on, and advised me, as his friend, to depend upon De la Saone, first physician to the Queen. I went to De la Saone, who was gone out and was not expected home till late that night. I returned to Quenay, who followed me immediately to the Duke. It was by this time seven at night. The Duke was in the same profuse sweat which he had been in all day and all the preceding night. In this situation Quenay declared that it was improper to do anything till the sweat should be over. He only ordered him some cooling ptisane drink. Quenay’s illness made it impossible for him to return next day (Monday) and De la Saone has waited on the Duke ever since, to my entire satisfaction. On Monday he found the Duke’s fever so moderate that he judged it unnecessary to bleed him. . . . To–day, Wednesday, upon finding some little extraordinary heat upon the Duke’s skin in the morning, he proposed ordering a small quantity of blood to be taken from him at two o’clock. But upon returning at that hour he found him so very cool and easy, that he judged it unnecessary. When a French physician judges bleeding unnecessary, you may be sure that the fever is not very violent. The Duke has never had the smallest headach, nor any pain in any part of his body: he has good spirits: his head and his eyes are both clear: he has no extraordinary redness in his face: his tongue is not more foul than in a common cold. There is some little quickness in his pulse: but it is soft, full, and regular. In short, there is no one bad symptom about him: only he has a fever and keeps his bed. . . . De la Saone imagines the whole illness owing to the indigestion of Thursday night, some part of the undigested matter having got into his blood, the violent commotion which this had occasioned had burst, he supposes, some small vessel in his veins. . . . Depend upon hearing from me by every post till his perfect recovery: if any threatening symptom should appear, I shall immediately despatch an express to you; so keep your mind as easy as possible. There is not the least probability that any such symptom ever will appear. I never stirr from his room from eight in the morning till ten at night, and watch for the smallest change that happens to him. I should sit by him all night too, if the ridiculous, impertinent jealousy of Cook, who thinks my assiduity an encroachment upon his duty, had not been so much alarmed as to give some disturbance even to his master in his present illness.
The King has enquired almost every day at his levée of my Lord George and of Mr. De la Saone, concerning the Duke’s illness. The Duke and Dutchess of Fitzjames, the Chevalier de Clermont, the Comte de Guerchy, etc. etc., together with the whole English nation here and at Paris, have expressed the greatest anxiety for his recovery. Remember me in the most respectful manner to Lady Dalkeith, and believe me to be with the greatest regard, Dear Sir, Your most obliged and most humble servant,
MS., GUL Gen. 1464/7; unpubl.
Compiègne, Thursday 6 o’clock afternoon, 27 Aug. 1766
I resume the history of the Dukes illness from the moment in which I left it of yesterday. I had scarce sealed up my Letter when de la Saone came into the Room. He found that the fever was somewhat increased since the time that he had seen him before which was at two o’clock afternoon. Its paroxysme is always from about seven in the evening till about twelve or one in the morning. He thought that a gentle bleeding would diminish this paroxysme which had entirely broke his rest the night before. He ordered accordingly three moderate tea cupfuls of blood to be taken from him, which was accordingly done at eight at night. The Duke accordingly spent that night more agreably than he had done any since the commencement of his illness. De la Saone found him this morning, still feverish, but more cool than he had ever seen him before. His urine, however, had returned last night to its old, bad colour but not quite so dark. De la Saone desird that I would give him leave to consult with Senac upon this singular symptom. He brought Senac accordingly at one o’clock this afternoon to see the Duke. Senac examined very carefully into all his symptoms, into the whole history of the disease from the beginning, even into his way of living and into the Accidents which had happened to his health for these twelvemonths past. He then went into a long consultation with la Saone upon this accident and upon the whole disease. I was present at this consultation and I can assure it had no resemblance to what we commonly suppose the consultations of Physicians to be. They were both of opinion that the fever was independent of this symptom and caused by an indigestion; and that it was the effect either of some strain, or of the fever itself; probably of the fever itself; as it increases with every increase of the fever and diminishes upon every relaxation; that it was blood which discoloured the Urine; they were in some doubt, however, whether this blood had come from some small vessel in the reins or in the Bladder. Its being so perfectly mixed and blended with the urine was the only symptom which disposed them to believe that it might come from the reins; But as the Duke even upon pinching his reins feels no pain or uneasiness in any part of them; they were disposed to believe that it rather came from the inside of the Bladder; in which case they both agreed that it was not likely to be of any consequence. The extreme good success of last nights bleeding inclines them to take a little more blood from the Duke, provided the fever increases as usual towards seven or eight at night. Senac is more formal than la Saone who is one of the most engaging men I ever saw; In his reasonings and Judgements, however, Senac is one of the clearest, distinctest and most rational Physicians I ever saw. La Saone is not less so.
Since I wrote the above la Saone has been to see the Duke. He finds him so easy that he imagines it will be unnecessary to bleed him to night. He is to return, however, at eight o’clock in order to decide that point along with Senac. I ever am Your most Obliged and most humble Servant
The King and Queen both enquired very particularly about the Duke this morning, first from his Physicians, and afterwards, from the Sardinian Ambassadour and from the Duke of Richmond who expresses the most anxious concern about him. Senac is now quite well.
MS., RSE ii. 39; HL ii. 82–3.
[Lisle Street, Leicester Fields, Aug. 1766]
There is a Bookseller at Paris, one Dessain, who has some Character, but has play’d me a very ugly Trick. I bought of him two Volumes of Buffon’s Natural History and paid him thirty Livres for them; but as M. Buffon made me a Present of them afterwards, Dessain took them back. I gave him a pretty large Commission of Books to be sent to me to the Care of David Wilson, and I left among the rest, these two Volumes of Buffon, together with Mrs Macaulay’s History and some other Books. He has sent over several Parcels to Mr Wilson, but will neither send over my Books, nor answer my Letters nor take any Notice of me. He lives on the Quay des Augustins, not far from you: I wish you woud speak to him and threaten him a little. Tell him I shall prosecute him either myself on my Return to Paris or by Order, if he do not send over my Books and Money. I wonder he acts so foolishly: For my Commission woud be more profitable to him, than so small a Pittance as this sum.
You may see in M. Dalembert’s hands the whole Narrative of my Affair with Rousseau along with the whole Train of Correspondence. Pray is it not a nice Problem, whether he be not an arrant Villain or an arrant Madman or both: The last is my Opinion; but the Villain seems to me to predominate most in his Character. I shall not publish them unless forc’d, which you will own to be a very great Degree of Self denial. My Conduct, in this Affair, woud do me a great deal of Honour; and his woud blast him for ever; and blast his Writings at the same time: For as these have been exalted much above their Merit, when his personal Character falls, they woud of Course fall below their Merit. I am however apprehensive that in the End I shall be oblig’d to publish. About two or three days ago, there was an Article in the St. James’s Chronicle copyd from the Brussels Gazette, which pointed at this Dispute. This may probably put Rousseau in a Rage; he will publish something, which may oblige me for my own Honour to give the Narrative to the Public. There will be no Reason to dread a long Train of disagreeable Controversy: One Publication begins and ends it on my Side. Pray, tell me your Judgement of my Work, if it deserves the Name: Tell D’alembert I make him absolute Master to retrench or alter what he thinks proper, in order to suit it to the Latitude of Paris.
Were you and I together Dear Smith we should shed Tears at present for the Death of poor Sir James Macdonald. We could not possibly have sufferd a greater Loss than in that valuable young Man.
In a little time, I go down to pass a few Weeks with my Friends in Scotland but direct still to me at Miss Elliots: My Letters will follow me. I wish I had a strong unanswerable Motive to determine me whether I shall live henceforth in London or in Paris. My Inclination and indeed my Resolutions lead me to the latter place; but my Reason points out the former. I for [ ] :ar, that I would have a great Facility to continue my History [ ]. Clamour of Faction on both Sides seems to have subsided: But c[ ] me a good Reason, why I should put myself to that Trouble? [ ] Compliments to Baron D Holbach.
MS., SRO GD1/479/14; unpubl.
Paris, Wednesday 11 o’clock at night, 15 Oct. 1766
I resume the very melancholy History of Mr Scott’s illness from where I left it off in my last letter.
On Monday morning Dr Gem observed some degree of fever in Mr Scott’s pulse which he had thought entirely free of it for some days before. Mr Quenay observed the same thing. His vomitings, however, and Purgings continued with great violence all day, notwithstanding a dose of ipp[eca]cuana which they had given him in the morning. His fever seemed to go off almost entirely in the evening, and they gave him, what they had given for two days before, a very gentle opiat to quiet his stomach and to give him a little rest in the night time. Yesterday morning Dr Gem imagined he felt more quickness in his pulse than he had ever done before; this, however, soon subsided and his pulse returned to a degree of frequency that was not much beyond its natural state. He was all day much freer from vomitings than he had been for some days before, and his purgings seemed to be no greater than what might be expected from fifteen grains of Rhubarb which they had given him the night before and that morning: from one to about three o’clock afternoon I thought I observed some alterations in his speech, and an extraordinary hurry and confusion in his Ideas. This disagreeable symptom, however, soon went off, so as to have me uncertain whether I had not fancy’d it from my own apprehensions; His pulse continuing all the while, tho’ a little feverish, extremely gentle and moderate. In the evening he appeared easier than he had been for some days before: They gave him no opiat that night and he Passed it very easily notwithstanding. This morning he ordered himself to be taken out of bed at eight o’clock and sit up to Eleven. He was entirely free from sickness and vomiting; his pulse had very little quickness; and his purging was no greater than what was to be expected from the fifteen grains of Rhubarb he had taken this morning and the night before. The Physicians were both much pleased with his situation and imagined that all the violence of his disorder was over. Quenay said that he had been at a loss before but he now knew what to do. I thought I might venture to go to my Bankers to get some money which, tho I had much occasion for it, I had put off doing for eight days before in order not to leave him. Dr Gem undertook to sit by him till I should return. I stayed out about an hour happy to imagine that all my anxiety was likely to be at an end. Upon my return I found him quite delirious, and that too with no very violent fever. I immediately sent for Quenai who ordered him instantly to be blooded. The delirium diminished upon bleeding: he fell into a sleep and into a sweat; his pulse rose; and in about two hours after he bled very copiously at the nose. Tho’ he speaks distinctly sometimes, the delirium is not yet, however, entirely gone of. All his other symptoms, however, are abated: His stomach is quite easy; he has no complaint in his bowls; he complains of no pain anywhere, not even of a headach. This terrible symptom only remains. I have already wrote twice to the Duke to return; in a way, however, that will not alarm him. I have sent an express to him this afternoon besides. Tho’ I have entire confidence in the skill of the Physicians that have hitherto attended him, notwithstanding they have been mistaken in their predictions, I have thought proper to call in Tronchin, who will attend him for the future along with them. He is my particular and intimate friend, Quênai is one of the worthiest men in France and one of the best Physicians that is to be met with in any country. He was not only the Physician but the friend and confident of Madame Pompadour a woman who was no contemptible Judge of merit. Gem is a man of the most perfect probity and friendship. Since the beginning of Mr Scotts illness he has seldom been less than twelve hours a day by his bedside and has all along acted the part of a Nurse as well as of a Physician. Tho’ the event has not hitherto answered their expectations I am convinced, they have both acted a very prudent and proper part. They both have still good hopes. Your humanity will excuse the confusion of this letter. The very sound of Mr Scotts voice, when I hear it from the next room, makes me almost as delirious as he is. I dare not desire you to say anything from me to Lady Dalkeith at present: I pray God to preserve and to prepare her for whatever may be the event of this terrible disorder. I ever am
Mr Scott has had a very good night. He has raved at intervals, but in general had been very quiet and distinct and has slept for a good deal. Dr Gem finds his Pulse not very quick and rather weak than strong. Thursday 7 o’clock in the morning.
MS., SRO GD1/479/14; unpubl.
Paris, 19 Oct. 1766
It is my misfortune to be under the necessity of acquainting you of the most terrible calamity that has befallen us. Mr Scott dyed this Evening at seven o’clock. I had gone to the Duke of Richmonds in order to acquaint the Duke of Buccleugh that all hope was over and that his Brother could not outlive tomorrow morning: I returned in less than half an hour to do the last duty to my best friend. He had expired about five minutes before I could get back and I had not the satisfaction of closing his eyes with my own hands. I have no force to continue this letter; The Duke, tho’ in very great affliction, is otherwise in perfect health. I ever am etc. etc.
MS., RSE vi. 34; HL i. 521, n. 1 (extract passed on to Hume by Millar)
Paris, Oct. 1766
Tho I am very happy here, I long passionately to rejoin my old friends, and if I had once got fairly to your side of the water, I think I should never cross it again. Recommend the same sober way of thinking to Hume. He is light–headed, tell him, when he talks of coming to spend the remainder of his days here, or in France. Remember me to him most affectionately.
Rae 234; Bonar 147–8 (excerpt).
[London, winter 1766–67] Friday
I go to the country for a few days this afternoon, so that it will be unnecessary to send me any more sheets till I return. The Dissertation upon the Origin of Languages is to be printed at the end of the Theory. There are some literal errors in the printed copy of it which I should have been glad to have corrected, but have not the opportunity, as I have no copy by me. They are of no great consequence. In the titles, both of the Theory and Dissertation, call me simply Adam Smith without any addition either before or behind.
MS., Bowood Libr., Marquess of Lansdowne; Rae 235–6.
[London,] Thursday 12 Feb. 1767
I send you enclosed Quiros’s memorial presented to Philip the second after his return from his voyage, translated from the Spanish in which it is published in Purches. The Voyage itself is long, obscure, and difficult to be understood except by those who are particularly acquainted with the geography and navigation of those countries; and upon looking over a great number of Dalrymples papers I imagined this was what you would like best to see. He is besides just finishing a Geographical account of all the discoveries that have yet been made in the South seas from the west coast of America to Tasmans discoveries. If your Lordship will give him leave he would be glad to read this to you himself and shew you on his map the geographical ascertainment of the situation of each island. I have seen it; it is extremely short; not much longer than this memorial of Quiros. Whether this may be convenient for your Lordship I know not. Whether this continent exists or not may perhaps be uncertain; but supposing it does exist, I am very certain you never will find a man fitter for discovering it, or more determined to hazard everything in order to discover it. The terms that he would ask are first, the Absolute command of the Ship with the naming of all the officers in order that he may have people who both have confidence in him and in whom he has confidence: and secondly that, in case he should lose his ship by the common course of accidents before he gets into the South Sea, that the Government will undertake to give him another. These are all the terms he would insist upon. The ship properest for such an expedition, he says, would be an old fifty gun ship without her Guns. He does not, however, insist upon this, as, a sine quâ non, but will go in any ship from an hundred to a thousand tons. He wishes to have but one ship with a good many boats. Most expeditions of this kind, he says, have miscarried from one ships being obliged to wait for the other, or losing time in looking out for the other.
Within these two days I have looked over every thing I can find relating to the Roman Colonys. I have not found any thing of much consequence. They were governed upon the model of the Republic: had two consuls called duumviri; a Senate called decuriones or collegium decurionum and other magistrats similar to those of the Republic: The colonists lost their right of voting or of being elected to any magistry in the Roman comitia. In this respect they were inferior to many municipia. They retained, however, all the other privileges of Roman citizens. They seem to have been very independent. Of thirty colonies of whom the Romans demanded troops in the second carthagenian war twelve refused to obey. They frequently rebelled and joined the enemies of the Republic. Being in some measure little independent republics they naturally followed the interests which their peculiar Situation pointed out to them. I have the honour to be with the highest regard My Lord
MS., Bodleian Montagu d. 10, fol. 58v; Economic Journal viii (1898), 402–3.
Lower Grosvenor Street, London, 25 Mar. 
After thanking you very sincerely for the trouble you have already taken about my affairs, I must still beg of you to take a little more; which is that you would not only send all the four boxes as soon as possible to Edinburgh directed to the care of Mr Kincaid, but that you would ensure them to the value of two hundred Pounds; and that likewise you would send me as soon as possible the Account of the whole expence including that of the two last books you was so good as to procure for me; viz, Anderson and Postlethwait.
MS., RSE vii. 36 (sheet torn); Rae 241–2 (in part).
Kirkaldy, 7 June 1767
The Principal design of this Letter is to Recommend to your particular Attention the Count de Sarsfield, the best and the most agreable friend I had in france. Introduce him, if you find it proper, to all the friends of your absent friend, to Oswald and to Elliot in Particular. I cannot express to you how anxious I am that his stay in London should be rendered agreeable to him. You know him and must know what a plain, worthy honourable man he is. I have enclosed a letter for him which you may either send to him or rather, if the weighty affairs of state will permit it, deliver it to him yourself. The letter to Dr Morton you may send by the Penny Post.
My Business here is Study in which I have been very deeply engaged for about a Month past. My Amusements are long, solitary walks by the Sea side. You may judge how I spend my time. I feel myself, however, extremely happy, comfortable and contented. I never was, perhaps, more so in all my life.
You will give me great comfort by writing to me now and then, and by letting me know what is passing among my friends at London. Remember me to them all particularly to Mr Adams’s family and to Mrs. Montague.
What has become of Rousseau? Has he gone abroad, because he cannot continue to get himself sufficiently persecuted in Great Britain?
What is the meaning of the Bargain that your Ministry have made with the India Company? They have not, I see prolonged their Charter, which is a good circumstance. What are you going to do, or rather [ ]
MS., RSE ii. 40; HL ii. 142–3.
London, 13 June 1767
The Count de Sarsfield is a good Acquaintance of mine from the time I saw him at Paris; and as he is really a Man of Merit, I have great Pleasure whenever I meet him here: My Occupations keep me from cultivating his Friendship as much as I should incline. I did not introduce him to Elliot, because I knew that this Gentleman’s Reserve and Indolence wou’d make him neglect the Acquaintance, and I did not introduce him to Oswald, because I fear that he and I are broke for ever: At least, he does not seem inclined to take any Steps towards an Accommodation with me. I am to tell you the strangest Story you ever heard of. I was dining with him above two Months ago, where among other Company was the Bishop of Raphoe. After dinner, we were disposed to me merry; I said to the Company that I had been very ill us’d by Lord Hertford: For that I always expected to be made a Bishop by him during his Lieutenancy, but he had given away two Sees from me, to my great Vexation and Disappointment. The Right Reverend, without any farther Provocation, burst out into the most furious, and indecent, and orthodox Rage, that ever was seen: Told me that I was most impertinent; that if he did not wear a Gown I durst not, no, I durst not have us’d him so; that none but a Coward woud treat a Clergyman in that manner; that henceforth he must either abstain from his Brother’s House or I must; and that this was not the first time he had heard this stupid Joke from my Mouth. With the utmost Tranquillity and Temper, I askd his Pardon; assurd him upon my honour that I did not mean him the least Offence; if I had imagind he coud possibly have been displeas’d I never shoud have mentiond the Subject; but the Joke was not in the least against him, but entirely against myself, as if I were capable of such an Expectation as that of being a Bishop; my Regard for himself and still more for his Brother, with whom I had long been more particularly connected, wou’d certainly restrain me from either Joke or Earnest, which coud be offensive to him: And that if I had ever touchd on the same Topick before, I had entirely forgot it; and it must have been above a twelvemonth ago. He was no wise appeas’d, ravd on in the same Style for a long time: At last, I got the Discourse diverted and took my Leave seemingly with great Indifference and even good humour. I was no wise surprizd nor concernd about his Lordship; because I had on other Occasions observ’d the same orthodox Zeal swell within him, and it was often difficult for him to converse with Temper when I was in the Company: But what really surprizd and vexd me, was, that his Brother kept Silence all the time; I met him in the Passage when I went away, and he made me no Apology; he has never since calld on me; and tho he sees, that I never come near his House, tho formerly I us’d to be three or four time a week with him, he never takes the least Notice of it: I own this gives me Vexation, because I have a sincere Value and Affection for him: It is only some Satisfaction to me to find, that I am so palpably in the right, as not to leave the least Room for Doubt or Ambiguity. Dr Pitcairne, who was in the Company, says, that he never saw such a Scene in his Life time. If I were sure Dear Smith that you and I shoud not one day quarrel in some such manner, I shoud tell you, that I am Yours very affectionately and sincerely
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/238; unpubl.
A londres le 23 Juin 1767
J’ay recue, Monsieur, la lettre que vous m’avez fait l’honneur de m’Ecrire le 7 et qui m’a fait le plaisir qui accompagnera toujours tout ce qui me donnera une marque de la continuation de l’amitié dont vous m’avez flatté. J’espere me dedommager Du malheur que j’ay eu de ne pas vous trouver icy en allant vous troubler dans votre solitude Et faire quelque promenade avec vous sur le bord de la Mer. C’est le plus seduisant de mes projets[;] Made. d’Enville me reproche de ne l’avoir pas Encore Executé. Mais je suis retenu icy par une affaire ou La folie des hommes me donne beaucoup de tourment et d’impatience. Je vous diray ce que c’est, quand nous nous verrons. Mais dans quelque tems que ce soit Je vous prie de ne dire a personne que J’en aie eu une icy, il m’est important qu’on ne le sache jamais. Je ne vous en parlerois pas sans l’incertitude qu’elle met dans ma marche et la necessité ou je me trouve par cette raison de vous demander ce que vous ferez cet Eté. Si vous Restez constamment a Kircaldy, J’y irai quand je pourray: Si vous avez quelque projet d’en sortir, dites m’en le tems, Je tacheray de faire un effort pour aller vous voir Auparavant ou apres. Je serois desesperé d’etre venu dans cette ile sans avoir cette satisfaction.
La mort de Made. la dauphine a fait tort a notre ami Tronchin. Je crois que Sa plus grande faute est de n’avoir pas menagé les medecins qui sont en fureur contre luy. Il faut ajouter qu’il a dit dans le commencement que la maladie de made. La dauphine ne venoit pas de la poitrine mais du foie. C’est une fantasie qu’il a que de ne pas croire aux maux de poitrine et que me surprend toujours. J’en ai vu un example dans la maladie d’une fille de made. d’Enville. Il est vray que pour made. la dauphine s’il ne dit pas des le premier moment que le foie avoit gaté les poumons, ce fut au bout de bien peu de jours, mais cela s’est oublié on n’à retenue de sa phrase que la partie la plus remarquable en ce qu’elle contredisoit l’opinion commune qui s’est trouvée la vraie. Il donna avant l’ouverture du cadavre un papier cacheté dans le quel il avoit mis sa façon de penser. Le roy a qui on le lut le lendemain dit que cetoit ce qu’il luy avoit toujours dit. Elle se rapportoit a l’ouverture du cadavre ou on trouva le foie tres sain à une petite cicatrice pres que paroissoit ancienne. Je ne scai s’il ne convenoit pas de s’etre trompé dans les premiers jours[.] On a dit qu’il avoit eté plus longtems dans l’erreur et on en donnoit pour preuve les remedes chauds qu’il a donnés constamment. Quelques gens puissans ont pris parti contre luy. Ainsy a tout prendre[,] quoyque ses partisans n’aient pas perdu de terrein, quoyqu’on voie evidemment que tout cecy n’est qu’une question de mots puisque made. la dauphine etoit sans Esperance lorsqu’on l’a apellé. Quoyque MR Le duc d’Orleans ait tenu bon Et que made. adelaide L’ait demandé une fois avec beaucoup dempressement, Il vaudroit mieux que cela ne fut jamais arrivé. Je luy ai envoyé le livre de dimsdale Sur L’inoculation pour qu’il connoisse cette methode et qu’il l’aprenne peu a peu car il faut s’y rendre. Mais il faut convenir que c’est une chose delicate pour luy.
Vous avez oublié une chose dans la comparaison que vous avez faite des hommes des differentes nations. C’est la liberté de parler[.] Les femmes l’ont plus que nous en france. Cest ce qui fait un de leurs avantages[.] Vous avez été temoins de l’effet qu’elles ont fait dans l’affaire du pauvre Lally.
Je viens de lire une livre dun de vos Compatriotes MR De ferguson. Il m’a fait grand plaisir may j’ay ete faché d’y trouver son Eloge des Lacedemoniens. Je ne puis reconnoitre pour une nation une institution bisarre qui ne formoit des hommes que par les memes principes qui en forment chez les moines, qui avoit besoin d’esclaves pour se soutenir et[,] en un mot[,] dont on auroit ete fort malheureux d’etre voisin. J’aurois voulu qu’un aussi grand philosophe[,] en nous citant cet Exemple puisqu’il n’en trouvoit pas de meilleur pour montrer jusqu’ou on pouvoit porter l’amour de la patrie, nous eut averti qu’il étoit imparfait[;] 1° parce que l’institution En elle meme n’est pas bonne[;] elle privoit les hommes de l’employ De la plus grande partie de leurs talens. 2° parce que pour se former et etre durable elle avoit besoin d’un concours de circonstances qu’il n’est pas vraisemblable qu’on voie jamais reunie. Je trouve aussi qu’il n’a pas assez rendu justice a nos peres. Il est vray qu’il convient que les grecs doivent une grande partie de leur lustre a leurs historiens. Mais il luy eut eté facile de faire voir que nos peres ont beaucoup a se plaindre des leurs. Je trouve encore qu’il ne rend pas assez de justice a la noblesse de leur caractere qui a si remarquablement affoibli les horreurs de la Guerre chez nous. Les grecs la faisoient avec toutes les passions de l’homme qui se livre a luy meme. La Generosité de nos peres ne vient pas seulement comme de dit M ferguson de l’autorité des femmes sur eux ni de leurs livres de chevalerie. Ils faisoient taire leurs femmes quand il s’agissoit de Guerre. Vous n’avez qu’a lire la vie de bertrand du Guesclin. Il ne faut pour expliquer cette difference d’Eux aux grecs que dire que Ceux cy agissoient toujours en Societé ils n’etoient rien quen societé. Un chevalier seul se croyoit quelque chose et en consequence tout ce qui pouvoit l’honorer etait precieux. Quelques generaux se sont appliqué a la tete de leurs armées les memes principes[.] Ils avoient tort. Vos [?capitaines] anglois surent tres bien Se conduire avec finesse pendant que le brave roy jean ne savoit aller que tout droit devant luy. Nous ne voyons pas que leur reputation ait eté attaquée dans ce tems là. En un mot a force d’etudier les peuples qui habitoient des villes MR ferguson me paroit avoir un peu oublié les habitans des Campagnes. Je ne croiray jamais qu’un gouvernement d’ou celuy d’angleterre est derivé ne merite pas beaucoup d’attention Et n’ait pas droit a quelques eloges.
En voilá bien long monsieur mais vous connoissez le plaisir que jay a m’entretenir avec vous. On dit rousseau a St Denis[;] on dit qu’il est fort feté. J’ay peine a croire que le parlement l’y laisse longtems. Je ne scai rien directement de paris. Ce sont des gens de paris cy qui me l’ont dit[.] Adieu Monsieur je finirai sans ceremonie
Fraser, Scotts of Buccleuch, facsim. facing i. 491.
Kirkcaldy, 26 June 1767
Kirkaldy 26 June 1767 Then received of Mr John Craigie of Kilgarston, in name and upon Account of the Duke of Buccleugh, the sum of one hundred and fifty Pounds Sterling due on the twenty fourth of this present month of June one thousand seven hundred and sixty seven years, being one half years payment of the Annuity of three hundred pounds a year settled upon me by his Grace; of which half years payment and all preceedings I hereby discharge the Said Duke of Buccleugh and all others concerned; at Kirkaldy this twenty sixth day of June one thousand seven hundred and sixty seven years. Witness my hand
MS., RSE ii. 41; HL ii. 150.
London, 14 July 1767
I send you the enclosd with a large Packet for Count Sarsfield. This is the last ministerial Act, which I shall probably perform; and with this Exertion I finish my Functions. I shall not leave this Country presently: Perhaps I may go over to France. Our Ressignation is a very extraordinary Incident; and will probably occasion a total Change of Ministry. Are you busy? Yours
You must keep Count Sarsfield’s Papers till a proper Method of returning them be pointed out to you. Have you read Lord Lyttleton? Do you not admire his Whiggery and his Piety; Qualities so useful both for this World and the next?
MS., University of Illinois Libr.; Scott 265.
Kirkcaldy, 30 Aug. 1767
I send you enclosed a bill for twelve Pounds eleven Shillings. When it is paid, and it is due more than a fortnight ago, I will begg the favour of you to deliver [two pounds?] eleven Shillings to Dr Morton Secretary to the Royal Society which he has been so good as to lay out for me. To the best of my Remembrance I owe you about or near ten Pounds, the shilling or two that is either under or over we shall adjust at meeting. I must beg the favour of you to present my most respectful complements to Dr Morton and to tell him how much I think myself [obliged] to him for his many civilities. There is no need of taking any receipt from him. Remember me likewise to Mr and Mrs Millar and to all other friends. I ever am
MS., RSE vii. 37; Rae 243 (in part).
Dalkieth house, 13 Sept. 1767
I cannot easily express to you the indignation with which your last letter filled me. The Bishop is a brute and a beast and unmerited preferment has rendered him, it seems, still more so. I am very much ashamed that the very great affection which I owe to his Brother had ever imposed upon me so much as to give me a good opinion of him. He was at Kirkaldy since I received your letter and I was obliged to see him, but I did not behave to him as I otherwise would have done. He thought proper to leave Edinburgh the day or the day before his brother arrived in it, without waiting to see that Brother to whom he owes everything, who was then, and is still in the most terrible distress, and who used to have no other foible so great as his esteem and regard to this haughty Blockhead. I excuse our old friend for not having taken more notice of this affair on account of the present state of his health upon which I shall explain myself to you more fully at meeting.
Be so good as to convey the enclosed letter to the Count de Sarsfield; I have been much in the wrong for having delayed so long to write both to him and you.
There is a very amiable, modest, brave worthy young Gentleman who lives in the same house with you. His name is David Skeene. He and I are Sisters sons; but my regard for him is much more founded upon his personal qualities than upon the relation in which he stands to me. He acted lately in a very gallant manner in America of which he never acquainted me himself and of which I came to the knowledge only within these few days. If you can be of any service to him you could not possibly do a more obliging thing to me.
The Duke and Duchess of Buccleugh have been here now for almost a fortnight. They begin to open their house on Monday next and I flatter myself will both be very agreable to the People of this country. I am not sure that I have ever seen a more agreeable woman than the Dutchess. I am sorry that you are not here because I am sure you would be perfectly in love with her. I shall probably be here some weeks; I would wish, however, that both you and the Count de Sarsfield would direct for me as usual at Kirkaldy. I should be glad to know the true history of Rousseau before and since he left England. You may perfectly depend upon my never quoting you to any living soul upon that Subject. I ever am Dear Sir, Most faithfully yours
MS., RSE ii. 42; HL ii. 163.
[London, ? end of Sept. 1767]
I thank you for your friendly Resentment against the Right Reverend, I easily forgive our Friend for not making me any Apology. Tis with great Concern I observe, that he has not Spirits enough for such an Effort, and perhaps is fetterd by some kind of Dependance on his Brute of a Brother. I have receivd two Letters from him in our usual friendly Style and have answered him in the same. Yours
MS., RSE ii. 43; NHL 176–9.
London, 08 Oct. 1767
I shall give you an Account of the late heteroclite Exploits of Rousseau, as far as I can recollect them: There is no Need of any Secrecy: They are most of them pretty public, and are well known to every body that had Curiosity to observe the Actions of that strange, undefineable Existence, whom one would be apt to imagine an imaginary Being, tho’ surely not an Ens rationis.
I believe you know, that in Spring last, Rousseau apply’d to General Conway to have his Pension. The General answered to Mr Davenport who carry’d the Application, that I was expected to Town in a few days; and without my Consent and Approbation he woud take no Steps in that Affair. You may believe I readily gave my Consent: I also sollicited the Affair thro’ the Treasury; and the whole being finish’d, I wrote to Mr Davenport and desir’d him to inform his Guest that he needed only appoint any Person to receive Payment. Mr Davenport answered me that it was out of his Power to execute my Commission: For that his wild Philosopher, as he called him, had elop’d of a sudden, leaving a great Part of his Baggage behind him, some Money in Davenports hands, and a Letter on the Table, as odd, he says, as the one he wrote to me, and implying that Mr Davenport was engag’d with me in a treacherous Conspiracy against him. He was not heard of for a fortnight; till the Chancellor receiv’d a Letter from him, dated at Spalding in Lincolnshire; in which he said, that he had been seduc’d into this Country by a Promise of Hospitality, that he had met with the worst Usage, that he was in Danger of his Life from the Plots of his Enemies, and that he apply’d to the Chancellor, as the first civil Magistrate of the Kingdom, desiring him to appoint a Guard at his own (Rousseau’s) Expence, who might safely conduct him out of the Kingdom. The Chancellor made his Secretary reply to him that he was mistaken in the Nature of the Country, for that the first Post–boy he coud apply to was as safe a Guide as the Chancellor coud appoint. At the very same time, that Rousseau wrote this Letter to the Chancellor, he wrote to Davenport, that he had elop’d from him, actuated by a very natural Desire, that of recovering his Liberty, but finding he must still be in Captivity, he preferd that at Wootton; For his Captivity at Spalding was intolerable beyond all human Patience; and he was at present the most wretched being on the Face of the Globe: He wou’d therefore return to Wootton, if he were assur’d that Davenport wou’d receive him. Here I must tell you, that the Parson of Spalding was about two Months ago in London, and told Mr Fitzherbert from whom I had it, that he had passed several Hours every day with Rousseau while he was in that Place; that he was chearful, good–humoured, easy, and enjoyd himself perfectly well, without the least Fear or Complaint of any kind. However, this may be, our Hero, without waiting for any Answer either from the Chancellor or Mr Davenport, decamps on a sudden from Spalding, and takes the Road directly to Dover; whence he writes a Letter to General Conway seven Pages long, and full of the wildest Extravagance in the World, He says, that he had endur’d a Captivity in England which it was impossible any longer to submit to. It was strange, that the greatest in the Nation, and the whole Nation itself, should have been seducd by one private Man, to serve his Vengeance against another private Man: He found in every Face that he was here the Object of general Derision and Aversion, and he was therefore infinitely desirous to remove from this Country. He therefore begs the General to restore him to his Liberty and allow him to leave England: He warns him of the danger there may be of cutting his Throat in private; as he is unhappily a Man too well known, not to have Enquiries made after him, shou’d he disappear of a Sudden: He promised, on Condition of his being permitted to depart the Kingdom, to speak no ill of the King or Country or ministers, or even of Mr. Hume; As indeed, says he, I have perhaps no Reason; my Jealousy of him having probably arisen from my own suspicious Temper, sour’d by Misfortunes. He says, that he was wrote a Volume of Memoirs, chiefly regarding the Treatment he was met with in England; he has left it in safe hands and will order it to be burnd, in case he be permitted to go beyond Seas, and nothing shall remain to the Dishonour of the King and his Ministers.
This Letter is very well wrote, so far as regards the Style and Composition; and the Author is so vain of it, that he has given about Copies as of a rare Production. It is indeed, as General Conway says, the Composition of a whimsical Man; not of a Madman. But what is more remarkable, the very same Post he wrote to Davenport, that having arrivd within Sight of the Sea, and finding he was really at Liberty to go or stay, as he pleas’d, he had intended voluntarily to return to him; but seeing in a News Paper an account of his Departure from Wootton and concluding his Offences were too great to be forgiven, he was resolvd to depart for France. Accordingly, without any farther Preparation and without waiting General Conway’s Answer, he took his Passage on a Packet Boat, and went off that very Evening. Thus you see, he is a Composition of Whim, Affectation, Wickedness, Vanity, and Inquietude, with a very small, if any Ingredient of Madness. He is always complaining of his Health; yet I have scarce ever seen a more robust little Man of his Years; He was tird in England, where he was neither persecuted nor caress’d, and where, he was sensible, he had expos’d himself: He resolvd therefore to leave it; and having no Pretence, he is oblig’d to contrive all those Absurdities, which, he himself, extravagant as he is, gives no Credit to. At least, this is the only Key I can devise to his Character. The ruling Qualities abovementioned, together with Ingratitude, Ferocity, and Lying, I need not mention, Eloquence and Invention, form the whole of the Composition.
When he arrivd at Paris, all my Friends, who were likewise all his, agreed totally to neglect him: The Public too disgusted with his multiplyd and indeed criminal Extravagancies, showd no manner of concern about him. Never was such a Fall from the time I took him up, about a Year and a half before. I am told by D’Alembert and Horace Walpole, that, sensible of this great Alteration, he endeavourd to regain his Credit by acknowledging to every body his Fault with regard to me: But all in vain. He has retird to a Village in the Mountains of Auvergne as M. Durand tells me; where no body enquires after him. He will probably endeavour to recover his Fame by new Publications; and I expect with some Curiosity the Reading of his Memoirs, which will I suppose suffice to justify me in every body’s Eyes, and in my own, for the Publication of his Letters and my Narrative of the Case. You will see by the Papers, that a new Letter of his to M.D, which I imagine to be Davenport, is publishd. This Letter was probably wrote immediatly on his Arrival at Paris; or perhaps is an Effect of his usual Inconsistence: I do not much concern myself which: Thus he has had the Satisfaction, during a time, of being much talkd of, for his late Transactions; the thing in the World he most desires: But it has been at the Expence of being consign’d to perpetual Neglect and Oblivion. My compliments to Mr Oswald; and also to Mrs Smith. I am Dear Smith Yours sincerely
P.S. Will you be in Town next Winter.
MS., RSE ii. 44; HL ii. 168–9.
London, 17 Oct. 1767.
I sit down to correct a Mistake or two, in the former Account which I gave you of Rousseau. I saw Davenport a few days ago, who tells me, that the Letter, inserted in all the News Papers, was never addressd to him: He even doubts its being genuine; both because he knows it to be opposite to all his Sentiments with regard to me, to whom he desires earnestly to be reconcild, and because it is too absurd and extravagant, and seems to be contriv’d rather as a Banter upon him. Davenport added, that Rousseau was retir’d to some Place in France, and had chang’d his Name and his Dress; but wrote to him, that he was the most miserable of all Beings; that it was impossible for him to stay where he was; and that he wou’d return to his old Hermitage, if Davenport wou’d accept of him. Indeed, he has some Reason to be mortify’d with his Reception in France: For Horace Walpole, who has very lately returnd thence, tells me, that, tho’ Rousseau is settled at Cliché, within a League of Paris, no body enquired after him, no body visits him, no body talks of him, every one has agreed to neglect and disregard him: A more sudden Revolution of Fortune than almost ever happend to any man, at least to any man of Letters.
I ask’d Mr Davenport about those Memoirs, which Rousseau said he was writing, and whether he had ever seen them: He said Yes, he had: It was projected to be a Work in twelve Volumes; but he has as yet gone no farther than the first Volume, which he had entirely compos’d at Wootton. It was charmingly wrote, and concluded with a very particular and interesting Account of his first Love, the Object of which was a Person, whose first Love it also was. Davenport, who is no bad Judge, says, that these Memoirs will be the most taking of all his Works; and indeed, you may easily imagine what such a Pen wou’d make of such a Subject as that I mentiond. Mean–while, it appears clearly, what I told you before, that he is no more mad at present, than he has been during the whole Course of his Life, and that he is capable of the same Efforts of Genius. I think I may wait in Security his Account of the Transactions between us: But however, this Incident, which I forsaw, is some Justification of me for publishing his Letters, and may apologize for a Step, which you, and even myself, have been inclind sometimes to blame and always to regreat.
Tell Mr Oswald, that I saw yesterday young Fitz–patrick, Lord Ossory’s Brother, who is just returnd from Caen, and who gave me very good Accounts of Jemmy in every Respect.
MS., University of Michigan Libr.; Quarterly Journal of Economics lxxiii (1958), 157–65.
Kirkcaldy, 27 Jan. 1768
I should have written to your Lordship a long time ago, to thank you for the very great kindness which you was so good as to shew me when I was last at London: but I flattered myself that your Lordship knew me too well to need to be assured of my sense of it by letter: and the little transactions of this Country afford nothing that can furnish any amusement to your Lordship. I now write to your Lordship to thank you for your kindness to another man, I mean my very worthy and excellent friend the Count de Sarsfield. He writes me that you have been excessively good to him: and I have the vanity, which perhaps you will laugh at, to impute some part of the kindness which you have shewn to him, to the regard with which you have been so good as to honour me. There is nothing that your Lordship could Possibly have done that would have bound me more effectually to you. I have no doubt but you have found him the same plain, worthy, sensible man which I described him to be.
Since I came to this country I have employed myself pretty much in the manner that I proposed. I have not, however, made all the Progress that I expected; I have resolved, therefor, to prolong my stay here till November next, perhaps, till after the Christmass holidays next winter.
When your Lordship sees Colonel Clerk I beg that you would tell him that I have followed his advice exactly with regard to a change which he proposed I should make in the original contract I made with the Duke of Buccleugh. I am very much obliged to him for his counsell and I feel the good effects of it every day. He will explain this to your Lordship by word of mouth much better than I could by a long letter written in so very bad a hand.
I beg to be remembered in the most respectful manner to Lady Shelburne and that your Lordship would believe me to be with the highest respect and esteem My Lord Your Lordships most obliged
Fraser, Scotts of Buccleuch, ii. 406; Rae 246 (reference).
25 Dec. 1768 Kirkcaldy
Dear Sir,—I have sent by this day’s post the discharge you wish for Mr. John Ross; he is the gentleman I mentioned to you before. He will deliver it to you to–morrow, and you may either pay the money to him, or give him an order upon the bank for it. I am very much obliged to you for your friendly remembrance of me.
I received lately a letter from Sir James Johnstoune. He has explained to you what is Mr. Scott of Davington’s claim, as heir of Rennaldburn, upon the Duke of Buccleuch. If it would not be too much trouble to you I should be much obliged to you if you could let me know in two lines wherein it consists.
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. I have no papers upon this subject except an account of the fiars 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. I have, however, a good number of printed Books such as Fleetwood, Du Pré de St Maur, Police des Grains, Messance sur la Population et sur les prix des grains, Essays on the Corn Trade, &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, in the English Acts of Parliament, and in the Ordonnances of the french Kings. My own Papers 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 letter I had the honour to receive from your Lordship some time ago. I proposed to read over the Scotch Acts 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 Barrington 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. I have the honour to be with highest respect and esteem
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.
MS., Dr. Kenji Takeuchi, Shunmei Yamate, Naka–gun Oiso–machi, Kanagawa 225, Japan; Brougham ii. 219; Rae 247–8.
Kirkcaldy, 05 Mar. 1769
I should now be extremely obliged to your Lordship if you would send me the Papers you mentioned upon the prices of Provisions in former times. In order that the conveyance may be perfectly secure, if your Lordship will give me leave, I shall send my own servant sometime this week to receive them at your Lordships house at Edinburgh. I have not been able to get the Papers in the cause of Lord Galloway and Lord Morton. If your Lordship is Possessed of them it would likewise be a great obligation if you could send me them. I shall return both as soon as Possible. If your Lordship will give me leave, I shall transcribe the Mss Papers; this, however depends entirely upon your Lordship.
Since the last time I had the honour of writing to your Lordship, I have read over with more care than before, the Acts of James 1st and compared them with your Lordships remarks. From these last I have received both much pleasure and much instruction. Your Lordships remarks will, I plainly see, be of much more use to me, that I am afraid mine will be to you. I have read law entirely with a view to form some general notion of the great outlines of the plan according to which justice has [been] administered in different ages and nations: and I have entered very little into the detail of Particulars, of which, I see, your Lordship is very much master. Your Lordships particular facts will be of great use to correct my general views; but the latter, I fear, will always be too vague and superficial to be of much use to your Lordship.
I have nothing to add to what your Lordship has observed upon the Acts of James 1st. The[y] are penned, in general in a much ruder and more inaccurate manner than either the English Statutes or French ordinances of the Same Period; and Scotland seems to have been, even during this vigorous reign as our historians represent it, in greater disorder than either France or England had been from the time of the Danish and Norwegian incursions. The 5. 24. 56. and 85, Statutes, seem all to attempt a remedy to one and the same abuse. Travelling, from the disorders of the Country, must have been extremely dangerous, and consequently very rare. Few People, therefor, could propose to live by entertaining travellers; and consequently there would be few or no inns. Travellers would be obliged to have recourse to the hospitality of private families: in the same manner as in all other barbarous Countries: And being in this situation real objects of Compassion, private families would think themselves obliged to receive them, even though this Hospitality was extremely oppressive. Strangers, says Homer, are sacred Persons, and under the protection of jupiter; but no wise man would ever chuse to send for a Stranger unless he was either a Bard or a Soothsayer. The danger, too, of travelling either alone or with few attendants, made all men of any consequence carry along with them a numerous suite of retainers which rendered this Hospitality still more oppressive. Hence the orders to build Hostellaries in 24 and 85. And as many people had chosen to follow the old fashion and to live rather at the expense of other people than at their own, hence the Complaint of the Keepers of the Hostellaries, and the order thereupon in Act 56.
I cannot conclude this letter, though already too long, without expressing to your Lordship my concern and still more, my indignation at what has lately passed both at London and at Edinburgh. I have often thought that the supreme court of the United Kingdom very much resembled a jury. The Law Lords generally take upon them, to sum up the Evidence, and to explain the Law to the other peers; who generally follow their opinion implicitely. Of the two Law Lords, who upon this occasion, instructed them, the one has always run after the Applause of the Mob: the other, by far the most intelligent, has always shewn the greatest dread of popular odium; which, however, [he] has not been able to avoid. His inclinations [also] have always been suspected to favour one of the [par]ties. He has upon this occasion, I suspect, followed rather his fears and his inclinations, than his judgement. I could say a great deal more upon this subject to your Lordship, but I am afraid I have already said too much. I would rather, for my own part, have the solid reputation of your most respectable President, tho exposed to the insults of a brutal mob, than all the vain and flimsey applause that has ever yet been bestowed upon either or both the other two. I have the honour to be,
MS., Newhailes MSS. (1805 copy) No. 432, NLS microfilm; unpubl.
Edinburgh, 6 Mar. 1769
Instead of giving you the trouble of sending a Servant for the papers I transmit them to you by the post; they are at your Service absolutely, I have gone little farther than you see, in writing out; the principal materials were in the Records, and I knew I could have them when I pleased; if you have occasion for the materials, on Record, I can assist you. I have looked out for the papers in the Orkney cause and I miss many of them, but I can easily get a compleat set for you. There is a Book lately published as to the prices of Corn &c in England since the Conquest, but I have not seen it, and indeed I have no time to think of any thing at present but the duty of my profession, if matters go on in the present course the Business of a judge will be very easy, he need not consult the law, nor his Conscience, he will find an infallible Rule in the Enemys of Glass windows, has any man an antipathy of Glass windows then he is in the right.
Seriously this is an unhappy Crisis, incidimus in ea tempora, that a Judge must study Causes under the protection of skrewed Bayonets; this was my case for two nights; and I assure you, that next to Window–breakers they were the most disagreeable attendants that I ever met with. Judges must not only be free, but they must feel themselves free and the whole nation must have the Conviction of their being free—hitherto I imagined that I was answerable for my Conduct to the laws of my Country and to my God, and that I was subject to no other Tribunal—now there is a sovereign Tribunal at every Bonfire.
When the Mob first attacked the President’s house, he went to his Door, and walked before it for a quarter of an hour, till assistance came. I heard this Anecdote from an Eye–witness and I mention it to you as a Confirmation of the opinion which you entertain of his Steadiness.
An odd accident happened to me in the Outer–House, between nine and ten—while I was sitting and hearing a Cause, at once, the whole house broke loose, I asked what was the matter, the answer was ‘they are putting the President out of his Chair’. My judicial Ideas made me forget that the President could have any Chair but that in the Court. I went to Lord Pitfour who was at another Bar and said ‘My Lord, they are pulling the President out of his Chair, we must go and share the same fate with him’—he followed me into the Inner–house where there was not a Soul; this still confirmed me in my Error, I imagined that the Court was dispersed—my next thought was to call a Macer, that I might go out in form—and then I found that the Insult had not been committed in Court—the Insult may be palliated, but I have no doubt the Mob went the length of crying ‘pull him down’, and entre nous, they certainly cryed out at his Backwindows the night before, ‘Porteus him’.
At present all is quiet, but while we are ruled by an unthinking and unthinkable Multitude, we hold our Security by a precarious tenure. Mean time
Prices of Corn, Cattle &c in Scotland from the earliest accounts to the death of James V.
|Hailes’s sources are the cartularies (registers of accounts) of the bishoprics of Moray and Aberdeen, and of the monasteries of Dryburgh, Arbroath (Aberbrothock), Kelso, Scone, Cambuskenneth, and Dunfermline. For details of these cartularies, see G. R. C. Davis, Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain (London, 1958). Hailes also refers to the Books of Sederunt of the Court of Session.|
|Error for ‘langsadile’, i.e. a long settle or bench, usually with arms and a high back.|
|? suum servum.|
|? recipit or recipiet.|
|1243||Charter by David Bishop of Murray bears this Clause ‘Animadvertentes Rebendam Centum Solidorum predictae nostrae Ecclesiae tenuem esse et exilem.’ Ch. Morav. fol. 48. This example does not determine anything with precision. It may, however, be presumed that the assertion of the Bishop is not far wide of truth or probability.|
|See Wilkin’s Concilia Vol. 1. p. 609. Anno 1249.|
|1253||Ten Merks of Silver, six acres of arable land and one acre of Meadow ground, provided to the Vicar of Worgo in Galloway. Confirmed by Gilbert Episcopus Candidae Casae. Ch. Dryburgh fol. 23.|
|Before 1253 when Bishop Gilbert died.|
|1268||A Pension of ten Merks Sterling to the Vicar of Kilrethny. Of ten Merks to the Vicar of Salton. Ten pounds to the Vicar of Childenkirk, who is also to do duty at the Chappel of Lawder. Twelve merks to the vicar of Golyn. Kilrethny is Kilrenny in Fife. Childenkirk, otherwise Childinchle now called Ginglekirk in Merse. Golyn, Gulane in East Lothian.|
|1285||The Chaplain of Fivin has a grant from the Monastery of Aberbrothock of ‘100 Solidi per Annum’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 1. fol. 14.|
|1304||The monastery of Abberbrothock enters into a Contract with the Bishop of Brechin, whereby it is provided ‘quod non licebit Domini Brechin Episcopo alicujus Vicarii portionem ultra decem libros Sterlingorum augmentare’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 1. fol. 21.|
|Before 1316||‘Dominus Abbas capiet de qualibet domo villae de Bolden ante Natalem, unam Gallinam pro obolo’. Rent Roll of Kelso, subjoined to Ch. Kelso.|
|This Rent–roll mentions Abbot Richard, and consequently cannot be older than about 1295 when Richard became Abbot. It does not mention the Church of Newthorn, and consequently cannot be later than 1316, when the monastery acquired that Church Ant. Natalem Noel. Christmas Day.|
|1316||The Vicar of Naithanthern was to have a ‘portio Centum solidorum’ Ch. Kelso f. 120. Naithenthern, now Newthorn in Merse.|
|1317||A payment of four Oxen by the Earl of Lenox was converted into a payment of two Merks of Silver. So that, at that time, the price of an Ox was six Shillings and eightpence. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 12. This deed is so anxiously conceived that it would seem the conversion was near the real value.|
|1328||‘Assedatio terrarum de Dunnethyn David de Manuel et si dictus David amerciatus fuerit in curiâ Domini Abbatis pro propriâ querelâ debit pro amerciamento quociens acciderit quinque solidos vel unam vaccam’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2, fol. 12. So that it would seem the price of a Cow was five Shillings. The lease is granted by Abbot Bernard who was elected Bishop of Sodor in 1328.|
|1329||The Abbot and Convent of Abberbrothock acknowledged themselves to be debtors to John Scot in the Sum of Six pounds thirteen Shillings and four pence ‘pro uno palfrido ab illo’. Ch. Abbr. V. 2. f. 17.|
|In simple times the prices of riding Horses would not greatly vary.|
|1342||The Vicar of Tarras is provided by the Monastery of Aberbrothock in Twenty four merks. Ch. Aber. Vol. 2. fol. 42.|
|1344||William Plommer of Tweedale to have iii d. ‘for ilk stane fynyne that he fynys of lede and a stane of ilke hundyr that he fynys till his travel, and that day that he wyrks he sal haf a penny till his nayn saykis’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 25.|
|1355||A pension of ten merks payable to the vicar of Carington in Mid–Lothian. Ch. Scone Vol. 1, fol. 40.|
|1370||Salary of the Dempster of the Territory of Abberbrothock twenty shillings Sterling ‘de exitibus curiarum’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. f. 53.|
|1380||The monastery of Aberbrothock having been burnt and the monks dispersed, there was provided twelve Marks ‘cuilibet per an. pro victu et vestitu’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. f. 24.|
|Between 1362 and 1397||Grant by the Bishop of Murray to ‘Andreas filius Roberti’ of a piece of Ground at Elgyn, ‘reddendo annuatim sex Solidos et octo denarios vel unam petram bonae cerae’. Ch. Morav. fol. 110.|
|Alexander Bishop of Murray makes this grant. He was Bishop from 1362 to 1397.|
|1395||A pension of forty five Marks of the usual money of Scotland payable to the Vicar of St Giles’s Edinburgh for his Maintenance. Ch. Scone Vol. XX 1. fol. 40.|
|1422||In a Contract between the Abbacy of Dunfermeline and the abbacy of Cambuskenneth, it was agreed that four Marks should be paid for a Chalder of Meal i.e. 3sh. 4d. pr Boll. Ch. Cambuskenneth fol. 68.|
|1462||Salary of the Mair and Coroner of Aberbrothock 40sh. 12 Bolls Bear and 12 Bolls [oat]meal. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 60.|
|1466||In a poynding for Rent at Aberdeen, the following pieces of household furniture were thus valued.|
|Unae sistae, a Countyr . . . . . . . . .||4||Merks|
|Unam screnium, a schrevyn . . . . . . .||50||Shillings|
|Unam longum Sedile, viz. a landsadile . . . .||40||do.|
|Usualis monetae Scotiae pro summa septem librarum et decem solidorum. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 65. There is certainly some mistake here; for the sum total agrees not with the particulars and the prices are beyond measure exorbitant.|
|1474||Contract with Steven Lyel Carpenter to work for the Abbacy all the days of his Life—to have twenty Marks per annum payable quarterly ‘pro mercede suâ ac pro suis esculentis et poculentis’.|
|‘Alterius si prefatus Stephanus oneratus fuerit per dictos Abbatem et Conventionem ad extra pro reparatione Ecclesiarum suarum operari, dicti Abbas et conventus persolvent dicto Stephano omni die operabile pro expensis suis quatuor denarios’.|
|‘Et praefatus Stephanus inchoabit opus omni die operabili hora quinta ante meridiem et finiet hora septima post meridiem tam in|
|aestate quam hyeme et si sic continuaverit omni die operabili dictus Stephanus habebit ad gentaculum suam et suam servium si quem habuerit unam parvam panem aulae et unam pinetam cervisiae conventualis et tantum recipiet post meridiem pro refectione sua et servi sui si quem habeat’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2.|
|1483||Lease of the Mill of Craquhy ‘cum 40 denariis monetae Scotiae pro dimidiâ parte porci.’ So that the price of a hog appears to have been six shillings and eight pence. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 48.|
|1484||Lease of the Wardmill by the monastery of Aberbrothock. The Lesee taken bound to deliver ‘unum porcum bene pastum vel dimidiam marcam’ 6sh. 8d. vid. the lease of Craquhy 1483. Lesee also taken bound to provide a servant for working at the mill of the monastery ‘quantum spectat ad officium Molendinarii pro viginti sex Solidis et octo denarii annuatim’ £1. 6. 8 or two marks. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 113.|
|1484 In payment for Debt||Lease of the tythes of Balmarmuir by the Monastery of Aberbrothock wherein Bear and Meal are thus estimated ‘ad valorem quatuor librarum pro celdra’—four pounds per Chalder or five Shillings per Boll. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 109.|
|1486||Lease of the tythes of Balgello. ‘20 lib. ad rationem, 4. celdrarum et 6 Bollarum ordei et farina’ i.e. 5sh. 8d. and about 1/17 of a penny pr Boll. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 120.|
|1486||Archibald Lame hired to be Schoolmaster His Salary ten marks ‘una cum cotidiana portione sicut conventus quotidie recipet’. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2 fol. 131.|
|1488||Salary to be paid to the Coroner of the Regality of Aberbrothock 24 Bolls Bear and Meal, and 40 Shillings of Silver. Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2 fol. 127.|
|1489||The yearly expences of the Monastery of Abberbrothock called ‘ordinatio David (Leighton) Abbatis’.|
|Wedders 800 at 3/– each . . . . . . . .||£120||.||.|
|Marts i.e. Beeves salt and fresh 900 Price of ilk piece 15/– . . . .||675||.||.|
|Keling lard i.e. salted ling 1500 at £3 pr 100 . .||45||.||.|
|Fish in winter 500, in Lent 1000 . . . . . .||320||6||8|
|Dry Haddocks and Speldings 1200 at 16s pr 100 .||8||.||.|
|Saffron 4 lib at £1. 15. pr lb . . . . . . .||7||.||.|
|Pepper 16 lb at 6sh 8d pr lb . . . . . . .||5||6||8|
|Ginger 2 lb at 10/– pr lb . . . . . . . .||1||.||.|
|Canel (Cinnamon) 2 lb at 16/– per lb . . . .||1||12||.|
|Cloves 2 lb at 13/4 pr lb. . . . . . . . .||1||6||8|
|Granis (Incense) 1 lb at 13/4 . . . . . . .||13||4|
|Mace 1 lb . . . . . . . . . . . .||16||.|
|Almonds 100 lb at 20d pr lb . . . . . . .||8||6||4|
|3 Dozn rise (probably 36 lb rice) at 8/–pr Dozn or 8d per lb . . . . . . . .||1||4||.|
|Vinegar X 8 Gallons at 8d pr pint . . . . .||1||12||.|
|Honey six Gallons at 8d pr pint . . . . . .||1||12||.|
|Swyne and Bars (Barrow hogs) 2 Dozn at 8/4 each . . . . . . . . . . .||10||.||.|
|Habit silver to the Cellerar . . . . . . .||6||13||4|
|Servants fees in the Kitchen . . . . . . .||3||10||.|
|Ch. Abbr. Vol. 2. fol. 126.|
|There are several curious particulars to be learnt from this Account. The extravagant price of Spiceries in the 15th Century. Vinegar and Honey bear the same price, which shows that the people on the Continent kept to themselves the secret of making Vinegar and thereby enhanced the price. The Article of Fish must mean 1500 Dozn otherwise the price would be exorbitant. The Article Swyne and Bars 2 Dozn must mean two Dozn of each. We have seen in 1483 and 1484 that a hog went at the rate of 6/8 a Barrow hog must have been at 1/8 in order to make up the total of 8/4 each.|
|1507||The Abbot and Convent of Dunfermlyne entered into an Indenture with ‘Simon Karnor Wright and his parentys’. Karnor became bound to work for the Convent during Life. His wages were settled at 20 Merks of usual money of Scotland; one Chalder meal and three Bolls Malt pr annum, payable quarterly. The wages of the Apprentice were settled at five merks and one Chalder meal. Their Utensils were to be kept in repair and maintained by the Convent. Ch. Dunfermline fol. 120.|
|1525||In a question between the monastery of Cambuskenneth and [?word illegible] Lords of Council estimated meal and Barley three Chalders each on an Average at 13/4 pr Boll on the parish of Lenye, shire of Dumbarton. Ch. Cambuskenneth fol. 91.|
|1525||In a Decreet of the Lords of Council a Hen valued at 4d. Ch. Cambuskenneth fol. 91.|
|1527||Fourteen Marks and two acres of Ground provided as a Salary to the Chaplain of Arringask. Ch. Cambuskenneth fol. 112.|
|1528||Decreet for abstracted tythes by the Lords of Council estimating Oats with fodder at 6/8 pr Boll. This was in the high Grounds of Stirlingshire. Ch. Cambuskenneth fol. 112.|
|1530||The Salary settled on the Door–keeper of the Abbacy of Dunfermline was £4 and one Chalder meal. Ch. Dunfermline fol. 120.|
|1540||Decreet of Non–entry in the lands of Haydail where the price of Grain are thus settled|
|Wheat pr Boll . . . . . . . . . . .||£1||15||.|
|Bear pr Do . . . . . . . . . . .||13||4|
|Meal pr Do . . . . . . . . . . .||13||4|
|Books of Sederunt 14th March 1540.|
|1540||In a Charter granted by the Bishop of Murray 3 Marts are converted at £1 4. each. Six Bolls Oats at 4/– each. Ch. Morav. fol. 171.|
|1540||In a Charter granted by the Bishop of Murray six Bolls of dry Multure are converted at 6Sh 8d pr Boll. Ch. Morav. fol. 177.|
|1544 and 1554||In deeds made by the Bishop of Murray the following conversions occur:|
|Mart . . . . . . .||£1||4||.||£2||13||4|
|Mutton (killed sheep) . .||4||.||8||.|
|Kid . . . . . . .||1||2||.||.|
|Capon . . . . . .||6||12|
|Poultrie . . . . . .||3||.||.|
|Goose (auca) . . . .||.||8||1||4|
|Boll of Oats . . . . .||4||.||6||8||fodder|
|Dry Multure pr Boll . .||6||8||6||8|
|Mers Fish 16 at 22/– . .||1||4||.||.|
|Barrel of Salmon . . .||2||10||.||.||.|
|Ch. Morav. fol. 194 et seq.|
|1545||A Lamb is converted at 1Sh. 2d. Ch. Morav, fol. 197, but in 1554 at 2Sh. The Conversions 1554 are contained in a Lease for two lives granted by Patrick Hepburn Bishop of Murray to Thomas and David Hepburn. It is not easy at first Sight to account for the great difference between the Conversions 1544 and 1554. and this the more especially, as the higher Conversions are in a Lease to persons of the Bishops own name and who, probably were his near Relations.|
|1561||In a feu–Charter granted by the Bishop of Murray, Bear dry Multure is converted at 6Sh. 8d. per Boll. Ch. Morav. fol. 122.|
|1561||In a feu–Charter granted by the Bishop of Murray there occurs the following Clause ‘Reservato tamen nobis et successoribus nostris Moravien[sis] Episcopis piscibus captabilibus vulgariter the tak fish prout usus est levori et percipi de lie Scotsold seys ex pretiis sequentibus respective vizt viginti lie Haddokis sive Quhittingis et aliorum piscium minorum pro denario pro uno lie Keling duos denarios pro uno lie Scait duos denarios pro uno lie ling duos denarios pro uno lie turbet quatuor denarios pro uno lie Selch quatuor Solidos’. Ch. Morav. fol. 122.|
MS., Keio University Libr., Japan; Brougham ii. 219; Rae 249; Sotheby’s Catalogue 21 May 1969, 65 (all ptd. texts, in part).
Kirkcaldy, 12 Mar. 1769
I received the favour of your Lordships Letter in due course of Post and have read over the Papers you enclosed along with it; with great pleasure and attention. I am greatly obliged to your Lordship for them: they will be of very great use to me.
I shall only observe to your Lordship that all the estimated prices of grain among our ancestors seem to have been extremely Loose and inaccurate: and that the same nominal sum was frequently considered as the Average price both of grain and of other things during a course of years in which considerable alterations had been made upon the intrinsick value of the Coin. Thus both in 1523. and in 1540. the Boll of barley and meal is estimated at 13s and 4d, tho in the first of these two periods there were only seven money pounds coined out of the pound weight of Silver; and tho’ in the second there were nine pounds, twelve Shillings coined out of it. This estimation is made, however, by the Lords of council and Session from whom the greatest accuracy might have been expected. It is not conceivable that during the course of the sixteenth century, so long after the discovery of the Spanish west Indies, grain should have sunk near one third in its average Price, or in the real quantity of silver that was given for it. The Market price of Grain was in those times extremely fluctuating, much more so than at present, and people seem to have been so much at a Loss how to fix an average, that they were happy to catch at any average that had been fixed in some former period without always attending to the difference of circumstances. In the conversion Prices that are agreed upon in Leases, the option whether to pay or take the rent in kind or in money, is sometimes in the Tennant, and sometimes in the Landlord. When it is in the Landlord, and when the Landlord generally resides upon his estate and chuses, for the conveniency of his family, to receive the rent in kind, it is very indifferent to him how low the conversion price is. In this neighbourhood the price of a good fowl, a hen, has been for many years from ten pence, to a Shilling and fifteen pence. Several years ago a friend of mine converted all the Poultry upon his estate at a Shilling. Five pence, however, is a common conversion price in a lease, the option being in the Landlord. Leases of this kind have been let within [?these] two or three years. I should be glad to know, if your Lordship remembers it, for I should be very sorry to give you the trouble to consult the record, whether in the leases of the Abbays and Bishopricks which you have looked into, the option was in the Landlord or in Tennant. If it was in the former, as a Monastery is always, and in old times a Bishop was generally resident, we need not wonder either at the irregularity, or at the lowness of some of the conversion prices. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect and regard
If the rejoicings, which I read of in the public papers, in different places on account of the Douglass Cause, had no more foundation than those which were said to have been in this place, there has been very little joy upon the occasion. There was here no sort of rejoicing of any kind; unless four schoolboys having set up three candles upon the trone, by way of an illumination, is to be considered as such.
MS., Kyoto University of Foreign Studies Libr., Japan; Sotheby’s Catalogue 21 May 1968, illus. facing p. 65 (in part); unpubl.
Kirkcaldy, Tuesday 16 May 
I have read over with very great pleasure your Lordships discourse on the Laws of Malcolm. I am entirely of your Lordships opinion that they are not the Laws of any King Malcolm; but the composition of some private man, who meant to describe the great outlines of the Laws and customs of his Country, which he supposed, or had been told by tradition, were first introduced by some antient and famous king of the name of Malcolm; either Malcolm McKenneth or Malcolm Canmore; the former just as probably as the latter. It does not, I think, appear that the Author himself ever meant that they should pass for the original Statutes of that King. The Whole book is a narrative or History of the Regulations which he supposed had been made in times that were antient in comparision of his own. The Style is every where, not Statutory, but Historical. He intitled them the Laws of Malcolm, because he supposed that they had originally been instituted by some King of that name in the manner in which he tells; which tho’ very absurd, is not more so than the account given in many antient Books of the origin of other laws and customs. The supposition of their being the Statutes of any King is a blunder, and a very gross one, of later writers for which the Authour is not answerable. Your Lordship, has, I think, proved very clearly that this authour must have lived in the Norman times and was probably posterior to Richard 2d. The Discrepancies which your Lordship has taken notice of in the prices of several different things, are very look [?like those] which occur in the antient Coutumes of many different provinces of france. Mr Du Pré de St Maur has tortured his brain to reconcile them and make them all consistent. The real cause of those discrepancies seems to have been that either the Authors of those compilements, or perhaps the courts in the particular Province had in some cases simply followed some antient valuation, and in others had accomodated that antient valuation to the changes that had afterwards been made in the Standard of the coin; and this pretty much as accidental circumstances had directed.
I am greatly obliged to your Lordship for your attention in sending me the Orkney Process. I had before got together all the Papers except two; which two will be of the greatest use to me. I have taken a copy, as your Lordship allowed me, of your Manuscript upon the antient Prices of Corn etc. I shall therefor return the two Manuscripts along with all the Orkney Papers that I had not before collected; by next weeks carrier. I shall come to Edinburgh in the end of Summer Session when I shall beg your Lordships assistance to get access to the Chartularies from which you have copied the Prices of corn &c. I ever am
MS., University of Illinois Libr.; Scott 265–7.
Kirkcaldy, 23 May 1769
I return your Lordship your two Manuscripts, having taken a copy of that upon prices, as your Lordship permitted me to do it.
I have not the Latin copy of Laws of Malcolm by me; but Skeene appears to have understood one passage differently from your Lordship. It is Chap: 3. S5. Item, for ilk man not found the time of the Attachment the Crowner sall remain at his house quhere he dwells be the space of ane day ane nicht; and sall have his reasonable sustentation for himself and twa of his servants and for twa other men brought with him to be witness; and for his Clerk twa Shillinges and sall take na mair. According to this Passage, as here translated and pointed; the reasonable sustentation is for the five persons, and the twa Shillings is the fee of the Clerk. If the twa Shillings are to be understood to be the value of the reasonable sustentation, it is for six persons and is 4.d apiece. 4d. is the day wages of a Master mason of free stone as appointed by the statute of Labourers, of the 25 of Edward 3. This therefor would not in those days have appeared an Unreasonable sustentation for a Crowner and five Attendants.
I last week happened to see the Case of Lady Sutherland, your Lordships ward. There is at present depending before the Parliament of Paris a process of the same kind between the Marechal of Clermont Tonnerre and the Countess of Lannion, for the Honours and estate of Clermont in Dauphine. The Lady is much connected with some of my friends, who have sent me all her Papers. There is a good deal of affinity between her case and that of the countess of Sutherland. Both turn upon the Antiquity of female honours and female fiefs. If your Lordship thinks they can be of any use I shall send them by the Carrier next week. I have the honour to be with great regard
MS., RSE ii. 45; HL ii. 206–7.
James’s Court, Edinburgh, 20 Aug. 1769
I am glad to have come within sight of you, and to have a View of Kirkaldy from my Windows: But as I wish also to be within speaking terms of you, I wish we coud concert measures for that purpose. I am mortally sick at Sea, and regard with horror, and a kind of hydrophobia the great Gulph that lies between us. I am also tir’d of travelling, as much as you ought naturally to be, of staying at home: I therefore propose to you to come hither, and pass some days with me in this Solitude. I want to know what you have been doing, and propose to exact a rigorous Account of the method, in which you have employed yourself during your Retreat. I am positive you are in the wrong in many of your Speculations, especially where you have the Misfortune to differ from me. All these are Reasons for our meeting, and I wish you woud make me some reasonable Proposal for the Purpose. There is no Habitation on the Island of Inch–keith; otherwise I shoud challenge you to meet me on that Spot, and neither [of] us ever to leave the Place, till we were fully agreed on all points of Controversy. I expect General Conway here tomorrow, whom I shall attend to Roseneath, and I shall remain there a few days. On my Return, I expect to find a Letter from you, containing a bold Acceptance of this Defiance. I am Dear Smith Yours sincerely
MS., Yale University Libr. L1161 (copy in hand of John Johnston of Grange); unpubl. (to appear in Yale Boswell Correspondence).
Edinburgh, 28 Aug. 1769
As I know your benevolence; I readily take the liberty to Solicite you in behalf of the Widow of Mr. Francis Scot of Johnston, who was a very worthy man, and a Descendant of the Family of Buccleugh.
The Good old woman has a Small possession under the Duke, Called Knollyholm in the parish of Cannobie, where She is anxious to end her days, She is under Some fears of its being taken from her, I would therefore beg that you may take the trouble to mention this Case to the Duke and prevent an inhuman thing from being done; I am always with much regard
(Signed) James Boswell
MS., RSE ii. 46; HL ii. 214–15.
Edinburgh, 6 Feb. 1770
What is the Meaning of this, Dear Smith, which we hear, that you are not to be here above a day or two, in your Passage to London? How can you so much as entertain a thought of publishing a Book, full of Reason, Sense, and Learning, to these wicked, abandon’d Madmen?
I suppose you have not yet got over your Astonishment at this most astonishing Resignation. For my part, I knew not at first whether to throw the Blame on the Duke or the King; but I now find it is entirely and compleatly the Dukes own; and I think him dishonourd for ever. Here is the Passage of a Letter, which I receivd yesterday from a very good hand. ‘The most wonderful political Event that ever happened in this Country happend yesterday. The Duke of Grafton, who, it seems, has bad Nerves, thought proper to resign on Tuesday the 30th of Jany at 12 of the clock forenoon. The King, who showd a Firmness, which few people thought he possess’d and a rage that no body expected from him, absolutely refus’d to treat with the Opposition, and calld upon Lord North to stand forth, assuring him, that he would never yield. Lord North accordingly took the Duke of Grafton’s place, and yesterday met the house of Commons as Minister. The great danger was the Effect of the Pannic, and he checkt the Pannic by his Declaration, that he woud never resign, and whilst his breathe was in his body that he would support the King’s faithful Servants, and the Dignity of Parliament against faction and Conspiracy: They renewd the same captious and popular Question about the Middlesex Election; and after a long and warm debate, they divided and Lord North carryd the Question by forty Votes. This is reckond the most spirited Conduct that any man has held since the Revolution, and he is extolld to the Skies. The Opposition, who were parcelling out the Kingdom, are in despair; as there is no doubt that the new Minister will gather force every hour, as he has upon this critical occasion shown that strength of Mind, which is the precise thing hitherto wanting to give permanence to administration. Without doors there is nothing but peace and quietness; not a mouse stirring among the Mob; and I think the times will mend.’
So far my Friend, whose Prophesy I hope will be fulfilld; tho’ for my part I am rather inclind to give myself up to despair: Nothing but a Rebellion and Bloodshed will open the Eyes of that deluded People, tho’ were they alone concernd I think it is no matter what becomes of them. Be sure to bring over the Northumberland Household Book and Priestley’s Grammar. Yours Dear Smith
MS., RSE ii. 50; HL ii. 217.
[Edinburgh, Feb. 1770]
‘This Night Opposition produc’d a Motion to overwhelm Administration as they said; that no Officer, employ’d in collecting his Majesty’s Revenue should be allowed to vote in the Election of a Member of Parliament: Administration carry’d the Question 263 to 188, so administration has gaind 35 since the last Division. At the same Moment the House of Lords divided 81 against 41. We look upon Opposition to be over.’
Pray when do you come over to us? Do not buy any Claret to me
MS., EUL La. ii. 191; Scott 267.
Kirkcaldy, 11 Mar. 1771
Your friend Cowan has not done justice to my Watch. Since I came to this side of the Water she runs down as fast as I wind her up; the latch, I suspect, is either much damaged or lost altogether. I suppose he had given her to some of his apprentices. I must now beg that he will take the trouble to look at her with some care himself. I ever am
MS., GUL Gen. 1035/239; unpubl.
Paris, 7 Juin 1771
Je ne doute point Monsieur que vous ne pensiez que jay oublié Lengagement que Jay pris avec vous de vous envoyer le memoire Cy joint. Peut etre l’avez vous oublié vous meme. Mais, quant a moi, Je vous assure que Je ne lay pas perdu de vue, parce que cela ne marrivera jamais, Quand Il Sagira dune Chose qui vous regarde et qui peut Contribuer a me rappeller dans votre souvenir.
Depuis mon retour en france, Jay passé beaucoup de tems en province. Ce Sejour m’a Eloigné des occasions De Vous faire passer cecy.
Je retourne incessament a Rennes en Bretagne. Partout ou je Serai soyez Sur que vous avez un serviteur et un ami
Si vous voyez mr hume Je vous prie de Lui dire mille Choses pour moy. Lhistoire de Charles quint a icy un tres grand Succes. Quand verrons nous quelque chose de vous?
MS., Pierpont Morgan Libr., New York; unpubl.
Kirkcaldy, 26 July 1771
I have written to the D[uke] a letter which I hope will prevent the effect of any other application whatever. If Simson dies let me know by the first Post. I have forgot the name of the Kirk where our friend is minister. I ever am most faithfully yours
MS., EUL La. ii.191; Scott 267.
Kirkcaldy, Thursday [autumn 1771]
I should be glad to see the Duke of Buccleugh before he leaves this country. I should, therefore, be very much obliged to you if you would let me know when he returns to Dalkieth and how long he proposes to stay there.
If you see Andrew Stuart you may tell him that I am longing very much to see him; as he promised me a call.
I intended about a week ago to make a long visit to my friends on your side of the water. I had got wind in my stomach which I suspected a little dissipation might be necessary to dispel. By taking three or four very laborious walks I have entirely rid of it: so that I shall not [leave] my retreat for above a day these six months [to come].
I ever am
MS., RSE ii. 47; HL ii. 256.
Edinburgh, 28 Jan. 1772
I should certainly, before this time, have challenged the Performance of your Promise, of being with me about Christmas, had it not been for the Misfortunes of my Family. Last Month, my Sister fell dangerously ill of a Fever; and though the Fever be now gone, she is still so weak and low, and recovers so slowly, that I was afraid it would be but a melancholy House to invite you to. However, I expect, that time will re–instate her in her former Health, in which case, I shall look for your Company. I shall not take any Excuse from your own State of Health, which I suppose only a Subterfuges invented by Indolence and Love of Solitude. Indeed, my Dear Smith, if you continue to hearken to Complaints of this Nature, you will cut Yourself out entirely from human Society, to the great Loss of both Parties.
The Lady’s Direction is Me la Comtesse de B. Douairiere au Temple. She has a Daughter in law, which makes it requisite to distinguish her
I have not yet read Orlando inamorato; but intend soon to do it. I am now in a course of reading the Italian Historians, and am confirmd in my former Opinion that that Language has not produced one Author who knew how to write elegant correct Prose, though it contains several excellent Poets. You say nothing to me of your own work.
Recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations, trad. . . . par le citoyen Blavet (Paris, 1800), xxiv (extract).
[? Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Feb. 1772]
C’était une grande mortification pour moi de voir la manière dont mon livre (Théorie des Sentimens Moraux) avait été traduit dans la langue d’une nation où je n’ambitionne sûrement pas d’être estimé plus que je ne le mérite. Votre bonté généreuse m’a délivré de cette peine, et m’a rendu le plus grand service qu’on puisse rendre à un homme de lettres. Je me promets un grand plaisir à lire une traduction faite, parce que vous l’avez desiré. Si ce n’est pas être trop curieux, je serais bien aise de savoir le nom de la personne qui m’a fait l’honneur de me traduire.
MS., RSE ii. 48; HL ii. 262–4.
St Andrews Square, 27 June 1772
Done ere you bade: I receivd a Letter from Clason himself, and immediately wrote to Lord Chesterfield. Baron Mure told me of the good Behaviour of Mr Clason, in attending Sir Thomas Wallace, of which I also informd his Lordship. I hope the young Man will meet with Success.
We are here in a very melancholy Situation: Continual Bankruptcies, universal Loss of Credit, and endless Suspicions. There are but two standing Houses in this Place, Mansfield’s and the Couttses: For I comprehend not Cummin, whose dealings were always very narrow. Mansfield has pay’d away 40.000 pounds in a few days; but it is apprehended, that neither he nor any of them can hold out till the End of next Week, if no Alteration happen. The Case is little better in London. It is thought, that Sir George Colebroke must soon stop; and even the Bank of England is not entirely free from Suspicion. Those of Newcastle, Norwich and Bristol are said to be stopp’d: The Thistle Bank has been reported to be in the same Condition: The Carron Company is reeling, which is one of the greatest Calamities of the whole; as they gave Employment to near 10.000 People. Do these Events any–wise affect your Theory? Or will it occasion the Revisal of any Chapters?
Of all the Sufferers I am the most concern’d for the Adams, particularly John. But their Undertakings were so vast that nothing coud support them: They must dismiss 3000 Workmen, who, comprehending the Materials, must have expended above 100.000 a Year. They have great Funds; but if these must be dispos’d of, in a hurry and to disadvantage, I am afraid the Remainder will amount to little or nothing. People’s [Compa]ssion, I see, was exhausted for John in his last Calamity, and every body asks why he incurr’d any more hazards. But his Friendship for his Brothers is an Apology; tho’ I believe he has a projecting Turn of his own. To me, the Scheme of the Adelphi always appeared so imprudent, that my wonder is, how they cou’d have gone on so long.
If Sir George Colebroke stop, it will probably disconcert all the Plans of our Friends, as it will diminish their Patron’s Influence; which is a new Misfortune.
On the whole, I believe, that the Check given to our exorbitant and ill grounded Credit will prove of Advantage in the long run, as it will reduce people to more solid and less sanguine Projects, and at the same time introduce Frugality among the Merchants and Manufacturers: What say you? Here is Food for your Speculation.
Shall we see you again this Summer?
MS., Pierpont Morgan Libr., New York; Rae 253–4 (misdated 5 Sept.).
Kirkcaldy, 3 Sept. 1772
I received your most friendly letter in due course, and I have delayed a great deal too long to answer it. Tho I have had no concern myself in the Public calamities, some of the friends for whom I interest myself the most have been deeply concerned in them; and my attention has been a good deal occupied about the most proper method of extricating them. In the Book which I am now preparing for the Press I have treated fully and distinctly of every part of the subject which you have recommended to me; and I intended to have sent you some extracts from it; but upon looking them over, I find that they are too much interwoven with other parts of the work to be easily separated from it. I have the same opinion of Sir James Stewarts Book that you have. Without once mentioning it, I flatter myself, that every false principle in it, will meet with a clear and distinct confutation in mine.
I think myself very much honoured and obliged to you for having mentioned me to the east India Directors as a person who could be of any use to them. You have acted in your old way of doing your friends a good office behind their backs, pretty much as other people do them a bad one. There is no labour of any kind which you can impose upon me which I will not readily undertake. By what Mr Stewart and Mr Ferguson hinted to me concerning your notion of the proper remedy for the disorders of the coin in Bengal, I believe our opinions upon that subject are perfectly the same.
My book would have been ready for the Press by the beginning of this winter; but the interruptions occasioned partly by bad health arising from want of amusement and from thinking too much upon one thing; and partly by the avocations above mentioned will oblige me to retard its publication for a few months longer. I ever am
MS., RSE ii. 49; HL ii. 265–6.
Yours came to hand, while I was in the Country where I should have been still, had it not been for a Letter of the French Ambassador, who expected to see me here in Town: He is lookd for to morrow Evening. As soon as I came to Town, I ask’d the Question you proposd; and was told by Sir William Forbes, that tho’ they did not commonly take the Air Notes, yet he woud upon your Account: You may therefore send them over by the first Opportunity. I think that Bank more discredited by the last Step than by all their former Operations. They pretend to open at Air, in order to have a Pretence for striking off any farther Interest but as soon as great Sums are demanded, they pretend, that they are only to change small Notes for the Circulation of the Country; and so refuse Payment: This is in effect shutting up again: They do not seem to have forseen, that it was the Interest of the two Banks here and of all the Bankers to make a Run upon them; for which they ought to have been prepar’d. As far as I can learn, the Duke of Queensberry alone signs the Bonds of Annuity in his own Name; but it is imagind that the Duke of Buccleugh, Mr Douglas etc., have enterd into an Agreement to bear their Share: Otherwise it were Madness in him; and indeed not very wise in him and them in any case. I had last post a Letter from Andrew Stuart: I do not like the present Situation of that Supervisorship. Six to go from Europe, three to join them in the Indies: Corruption will get in among them; and probably Absurdity and Folly. And at best nine Persons can never do any Business. He tells me, that Ferguson is sure of going out Secretary. I wish it may be so. It will be a great Vexation and Disappointment to him to return to his Office with which he was before somewhat disgusted.
MS., RSE ii. 51; HL ii. 266–7.
St. Andrews Square, 23 Nov. 1772
I shou’d agree to your Reasoning, if I could trust your Resolution. Come hither for some weeks about Christmas; dissipate yourself a little; return to Kirkaldy; finish your Work before Autumn; go to London; print it; return and settle in this Town, which suits your studious, independant turn even better than London: Execute this plan faithfully; and I forgive you.
I was apply’d to, a few days ago, by poor Roby Arbuthnot, in favour of his Son, now 13 years of Age, and a promising boy, as I am told, whom he intends to send to Glasgow, in a view of procuring him an Exhibition at Oxford. You know the State of that Family; and have probably heard that both the Parents of the boy are unfortunate People of Merit. I own, that, trusting to your Humanity, I promised them your Interest and Advice in that Scheme: I hope you are not pre–engaged for any other Person: Otherwise I cannot doubt of your Concurrence.
Ferguson has return’d, fat and fair; and in good humour, notwithstanding his Disappointment, which I am glad of. He comes over next week, to a house in this neighbourhood. Pray, come over this winter, and join us.
MS., RSE ii. 52; HL ii. 276–7.
St. Andrews Square, 24 Feb. 1773
There are two late Publications here which I advise you to commission. The first is Andrew Stuarts Letters to Lord Mansfield which they say have met with vast Success in London; Andrew has easd his own Mind, and no bad Effects are to follow: Lord Mansfield is determind absolutely to neglect them. The other is Lord Monboddo’s Treatise on the Origin and Progress of Language, which is only part of a larger work. It contains all the Absurdity and malignity which I expected; but is writ with more Ingenuity and in a better Stile than I look’d for.
I shoud save you Expence, by sending you over both these works, if I knew how.
MS., RSE ii. 53; HL ii. 280–1.
St. Andrews Square, 10 Apr. 1773.
To day News arriv’d in town that the Air Bank had shut up; and as many people think for ever. I hear that the Duke of Bucleugh is on the Road: The Country will be in prodigious distress for Money this term. Sir G. Colebroke’s Bankruptcy is thought to be the immediate Cause of this Event.
Have you seen Macpherson’s Homer? It is hard to tell whether the Attempt or the Execution be worse. I hear he is employd by the Booksellers to continue my History: But in my Opinion, of all men of Parts, he has the most anti–historical Head in the Universe.
Have you seen Sir John Dalrymple? It is strange what a Rage is against him, on account of the most commendable Action in his Life. His Collection is curious but introduces no new Light into the civil, whatever it may, into the biographical and anecdotical History of the times.
Have you seen Alonzo? Very slovenly Versification, some pathetic, but too much resembling Douglas.
I expect to see you soon. Have you been busy, and whether in pulling down or building up?
MS., RSE vii. 38; Rae 262–3.
Edinburgh, 16 Apr. 1773
As I have left the care of all my literary papers to you, I must tell you that except those which I carry along with me there are none worth the publishing, but a fragment of a great work which contains a history of the Astronomical Systems that were successively in fashion down to the time of Des Cartes. Whether that might not be published as a fragment of an intended juvenile work, I leave entirely to your judgement; tho I begin to suspect myself that there is more refinement than solidity in some parts of it. This little work you will find in a thin folio paper book in my writing desk in my bedroom. All the other loose papers which you will find either in that desk or within the glass folding doors of a bureau which stands in My bed room together with about eighteen thin paper folio books which you will likewise find within the same glass folding doors I desire may be destroyed without any examination. Unless I die very suddenly I shall take care that the Papers I carry with me shall be carefully sent to you. I ever am
Small 614 n.
Edinburgh, 2 Sept. 1773
I am told that Dr Beaty, 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, 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. 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, but he must acquiesce.
Edinburgh, 23 Jan. 1774
It has given me great pleasure that you have avoided doing anything that might tend to urge Lord Stanhope farther than he has already gone in the proposal respecting Lord Chesterfield. If I had known the part he took in that business, I should certainly at first have either frankly accepted of the offer made me, or declined it in a way that could not imply an intention to raise the terms. This is certainly the only alternative that is now left me. I have revolved the subject all night and this morning, and the possibility of my becoming a burden on Lord Stanhope’s family weighs much, but the odds on Lord Chesterfield’s life is so great as very much to reduce that consideration. My place here, a few years ago, was worth about £300 a–year, but this and the preceding year it has fallen considerably short; and while the present alarm of the scarcity of money, and the expense of education at Edinburgh, continues, it may not rise again to its former value. To this I must add, that in case of debility or old age, I shall probably be reduced to my salary, which is no more than £100 a–year. For these reasons I think that I can fully justify myself to my family in accepting of £200 a–year certain, with the privilege of choosing my place and my occupations; and if my Lord Chesterfield’s guardians should be of opinion that he ought, when he comes of age, not only to relieve my Lord Stanhope of his engagement, but likewise, in case I shall have acquitted myself faithfully and properly, to make some such addition to my annuity as I mentioned, I shall then likewise think that I can justify my conduct to the world, who rate men commonly as they do horses, by the price that is put upon them. But of this I would not have the least hint to my Lord Chesterfield at present. I have so far proceeded without consulting anybody, and have formed an opinion subject to correction. I mean to read your letters, and this I am writing to one or two of my friends. If they approve, it shall go to you; and if you agree with me, be so good as intimate my resolution to the guardians of my Lord Chesterfield; or, if you have any objections of moment, delay it till I shall have heard from you. My own present feeling is, that I should be to blame if I omitted putting myself and family under the protection of persons so worthy and so respectable, when I have an opportunity of doing it without any real hazard to my interest. But I shall not enter on this subject, my heart, indeed, being too full, especially with respect to Lord Stanhope. I am etc.
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.
Pray, what strange Accounts are these we hear of Franklyn’s Conduct? 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!
MS., Priv. coll. James R. Abbey, 31 Meadowside Rd., Edinburgh; unpubl.
Edinburgh, 11 Mar. 1774
I don’t know whether you may not allude to a letter that I have not received, but it is likely that none have miscarried. And I thought my last decisive as to my resolutions and intended Motions. I have laboured hard to finish at the College and have put an end to one Species of Philosophy today and shall to another tomorrow. I have fixed to set out for London with J. Ferguson on Tuesday the Fifteenth of this Month, but as my Companion is indulgent to himself and Lazy may not be in London before Sunday or Monday thereafter. I write this merely because you say you are uneasy at not hearing from me. Am perfectly Satisfied with the whole manner and State of the Transactions and defer particularly till we meet. I have been dining with D. Hume who says you have never yet made any attempt to cure him of his Pet altho it be a great and a growing distemper. I am
Geneva, 1 June, 1774
You see I have taken full benefit of the time you allowed me to form my opinion of this situation, and have the pleasure to inform you it is in most material circumstances very agreeable. I was received with great politeness, and continue to be treated with sufficient marks of regard. I have found not only vivacity and parts as I was made to expect, but likewise good dispositions and attachments, servants all of an old standing, and become friends without any improper influence or disorder that I have yet observed. I was made to expect great jealousy of control, and set out with a resolution to employ no other than what a sense of my great regard might give me. It is likely that a person of a different character was expected, and the disappointment, I believe, has had a good effect. My journey hither furnished no adventures worth relating. My Lord Stanhope’s being at Paris gave me access, for the few days I stayed, to some very respectable and agreeable company, in which I was questioned concerning you, particularly by the Duchess D’Enville who complained of your French, as she did of mine, but said that before you left Paris she had the happiness to learn your language. I likewise met with your friend, Count Sarsfield, to whom I had great obligations, and if you write I beg that you will thank him, etc. etc.
Thomson i. 473–81; Rae 273–80.
London, 20 Sept. 1774
I have been very much in the wrong both to you and to the Duke of Buccleugh, to whom I certainly promised to write you in a post or two, for having delayed so long to fulfil my promise. The truth is, some occurrences which interested me a good deal, and which happened here immediately after the Duke’s departure, made me forget altogether a business which I do acknowledge interested me very little.
In the present state of the Scotch Universities, I do most sincerely look upon them as, in spite of all their faults, without exception the best seminaries of learning that are to be found any where in Europe. They are perhaps, upon the whole, as unexceptionable as any public institutions of that kind, which all contain in their very nature the seeds and causes of negligency and corruption, have ever been, or are ever likely to be. That, however, they are still capable of amendment, and even of considerable amendment, I know very well, and a Visitation is, I believe, the only proper means of procuring them this amendment. Before any wise man, however, would apply for the appointment of so arbitrary a tribunal, in order to improve what is already, upon the whole, very well, he ought certainly to know with some degree of certainty, first, who are likely to be appointed visitors, and secondly, what plan of reformation those visitors are likely to follow. But, in the present multiplicity of pretenders to some share in the prudential management of Scotch affairs, these are two points which I apprehend neither you nor I, nor the Solicitor–General, nor the Duke of Buccleugh, can possibly know any thing about. In the present state of our affairs, therefore, to apply for a Visitation in order to remedy an abuse, which is not perhaps of great consequence to the public, would appear to me to be extremely unwise. Hereafter, perhaps an opportunity may present itself for making such an application with more safety.
With regard to an admonition or threatening, or any other method of interfering in the affairs of a body corporate, which is not perfectly and strictly regular and legal, these are expedients which I am convinced neither his Majesty nor any of his present Ministers would choose to employ either now or at any time hereafter, in order to obtain an object even of much greater consequence than this reformation of Scotch degrees.
You propose, I observe, that no person should be admitted to examination for his degrees unless he brought a certificate of his having studied at least two years in some University. Would not such a regulation be oppressive upon all private teachers, such as the Hunters, Hewson, Fordyce, etc.? The scholars of such teachers surely merit whatever honour or advantage a degree can confer, much more than the greater part of those who have spent many years in some Universities, where the different branches of medical knowledge are either not taught at all, or are taught so superficially that they had as well not be taught at all. When a man has learnt his lesson very well, it surely can be of little importance where or from whom he has learnt it.
The monopoly of medical education which this regulation would establish in favour of Universities would, I apprehend, be hurtful to the lasting prosperity of such bodies–coporate. Monopolists very seldom make good work, and a lecture which a certain number of students must attend, whether they profit by it or no, is certainly not very likely to be a good one. I have thought a great deal upon this subject, and have inquired very carefully into the constitution and history of several of the principal Universities of Europe: I have satisfied myself that the present state of degradation and contempt into which the greater part of those societies have fallen in almost every part of Europe, arises principally, first, from the large salaries which in some universities are given to professors, and which render them altogether independent of their diligence and success in their professions; and secondly, from the great number of students who, in order to get degrees or to be admitted to exercise certain professions, or who, for the sake of bursaries, exhibitions, scholarships, fellowships, etc., are obliged to resort to certain societies of this kind, whether the instructions which they are likely to receive there are or are not worth the receiving. All those different causes of negligence and corruption, no doubt take place in some degree in all our Scotch Universities. In the best of them, however, these cases take place in a much less degree than in the greater part of other considerable societies of the same kind; and I look upon this circumstance as the real cause of their present excellence. In the medical College of Edinburgh in particular, the salaries of the Professors are insignificant. There are few or no bursaries or exhibitions, and their monopoly of degrees is broken in upon by all other Universities, foreign and domestic. I require no other explication of its present acknowledged superiority over every other society of the same kind in Europe.
To sign a certificate in favour of any man whom we know little or nothing about, is most certainly a practice which cannot be strictly vindicated. It is a practice, however, which, from mere good nature, and without interest of any kind, the most scrupulous men in the world are sometimes guilty of. I certainly do not mean to defend it. Bating the unhandsomeness of the practice, however, I would ask in what manner does the public suffer by it? The title of Doctor, such as it is, you will say, gives some credit and authority to the man upon whom it is bestowed; it extends his practice, and consequently his field for doing mischief; it is not improbable too that it may increase his presumption, and consequently his disposition to do mischief. That a degree injudiciously conferred may sometimes have some little effect of this kind, it would surely be absurd to deny; but that this effect should be very considerable, I cannot bring myself to believe. That Doctors are sometimes fools as well as other people, is not, in the present times, one of those profound secrets which is known only to the learned. The title is not so very imposing, and it very seldom happens that a man trusts his health to another merely because that other is a doctor. The person so trusted has almost always either some knowledge or some craft which would procure him nearly the same trust, though he was not decorated with any such title. In fact the persons who apply for degrees in the irregular manner complained of, are, the greater part of them, surgeons or apothecaries, who are in the custom of advising and prescribing, that is, of practising as physicians; but who, being only surgeons and apothecaries, are not fee–ed as physicians. It is not so much to extend their practice as to increase their fees, that they are desirious of being made Doctors. Degrees conferred, even undeservedly, upon such persons can surely do very little harm to the public. When the University of St Andrew’s very rashly and imprudently, conferred a degree upon one Green, who happened to be a stage–doctor, they no doubt brought much ridicule and discredit upon themselves; but in what respect did they hurt the public? Green still continued to be what he was before, a stage–doctor, and probably never poisoned a single man more than he would have done though the honours of graduation had never been conferred upon him. Stage–doctors, I must observe, do not much excite the indignation of the faculty; more reputable quacks do. The former are too contemptible to be considered as rivals: They only poison the poor people; and the copper pence which are thrown up to them in handkerchiefs, could never find their way to the pocket of a regular physician. It is otherwise with the latter: They sometimes intercept a part of what perhaps would have been better bestowed in another place. Do not all the old women in the country practice physic without exciting murmur or complaint? And if here and there a graduated doctor should be as ignorant as an old women, where can be the great harm? The beardless old woman, indeed, takes no fees; the bearded one does, and it is this circumstance I strongly suspect, which exasperates his bretheren so much against him.
There never was, and I will venture to say there never will be, a University from which a degree could give any tolerable security, that the person upon whom it had been conferred, was fit to practise physic. The strictest Universities confer degrees only upon students of a certain standing. Their real motive for requiring this standing is, that the student may spend more money among them, and that they may make more profit by him. When he has attained this standing, therefore, though he still undergoes what they call an examination, it scarce ever happens that he is refused his degree. Your examination at Edinburgh, I have all reason to believe, is as serious, and perhaps more so than that of any other University in Europe. But when a student has resided a few years among you, has behaved dutifully to all his Professors, and has attended regularly all their lectures, when he comes to his examination, I suspect you are disposed to be as good–natured as other people. Several of your graduates, upon applying for license to the College of Physicians here, have had it recommended to them to continue their studies. From a particular knowledge of some of the cases, I am satisfied that the decision of the College in refusing them their license, was perfectly just; that is, was perfectly agreeable to the principles which ought to regulate all such decisions, and that the candidates were really very ignorant of their profession.
A degree can pretend to give security for nothing but the science of the graduate; and even for that it can give but a very slender security. For his good sense and discretion, qualities not discoverable by an academical examination, it can give no security at all. But without these, the presumption which commonly attends science must render it, in the practice of physic, ten times more dangerous than the grossest ignorance when accompanied, as it sometimes is, with some degree of modesty and diffidence.
If a degree, in short, always has been, and, in spite of all the regulations which can be made, always must be, a mere piece of quackery, it is certainly for the advantage of the public that it should be understood to be so. It is in a particular manner for the advantage of the Universities that, for the resort of students, they should be obliged to depend, not upon their privileges, but upon their merit, upon their abilities to teach and their diligence in teaching; and that they should not have it in their power to use any of those quackish arts which have disgraced and degraded the half of them.
A degree which can be conferred only upon students of a certain standing, is a statute of apprenticeship which is likely to contribute to the advancement of science, just as other statutes of apprenticeship have contributed to that of arts and manufactures. Those statutes of apprenticeship, assisted by other corporation laws, have banished arts and manufactures from the greater part of towns–corporate. Such degrees, assisted by some other regulations of a similar tendency, have banished almost all useful and solid education from the greater part of Universities. Bad work and high price have been the effects of the monopoly introduced by the former. Quackery, imposture, and exorbitant fees, have been the consequences of that established by the latter. The industry of manufacturing villages has remedied in part the inconveniences which the monopolies established by towns–corporate had occasioned. The private interest of some poor Professors of Physic in some poor Universities, inconveniently situated for the resort of students, has in part remedied the inconveniences which would certainly have resulted from that sort of monopoly which the great and rich Universities had attempted to establish. The great and rich Universities seldom graduated any body but their own students, and not even then till after a long and tedious standing; five and seven years for a Master of Arts; eleven and sixteen for a Doctor of Law, Physic, or Divinity. The poor Universities, on account of the inconveniency of their situation, not being able to get many students, endeavoured to turn the penny in the only way in which they could turn it, and sold their Degrees to whoever would buy them, generally without requiring any residence or standing, and frequently without subjecting the candidate even to a decent examination. The less trouble they gave the more money they got, and I certainly do not pretend to vindicate so dirty a practice. All universities being ecclesiastical establishments, under the immediate protection of the Pope, a degree from one of them gave, all over Christendom, very nearly the same privileges which a degree from any other could have given; and the respect which is to this day paid to foreign degrees, even in Protestant countries, must be considered as a remnant of Popery. The facility of obtaining degrees, particularly in physic, from those poor Universities, had two effects, both extremely advantageous to the public, but extremely disagreeable to graduates of other Universities, whose degrees had cost them much time and expense. First, It multiplied very much the number of doctors, and thereby no doubt sunk their fees, or at least hindered them from rising so very high as they otherwise would have done. Had the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge been able to maintain themselves in the exclusive privilege of graduating all the doctors who could practise in England, the price of feeling a pulse might by this time have risen from two and three guineas, the price which it has now happily arrived at, to double or triple that sum; and English physicians might, and probably would, have been at the same time the most ignorant and quackish in the world. Secondly, It reduced a good deal the rank and dignity of a doctor. But if the physician was a man of sense and science, it would not surely prevent his being respected and employed as a man of sense and science. If he was neither the one nor the other, indeed, his doctorship would no doubt avail him the less. But ought it in this case to avail him at all? Had the hopeful project of the rich and great Universities succeeded, there would have been no occasion for sense or science. To have been a doctor would alone have been sufficient to give any man rank, dignity, and fortune enough. That in every profession the fortune of every individual should depend as much as possible upon his merit, and as little as possible upon his privilege, is certainly for the interest of the public. It is even for the interest of every particular profession, which can never so effectually support the general merit and real honour of the greater part of those who exercise it, as by resting on such liberal principles. Those principles are even most effectual for procuring them all the employment which the country can afford. The great success of quacks in England has been altogether owing to the real quackery of the regular physicians. Our regular physicians in Scotland have little quackery, and no quack accordingly has ever made his fortune among us.
After all, this trade in degrees I acknowledge to be a most disgraceful trade to those who exercise it; and I am extremely sorry that it should be exercised by such respectable bodies as any of our Scotch Universities. But as it serves as a corrective to what would otherwise soon grow up to be an intolerable nuisance, the exclusive and corporation spirit of all thriving professions and of all great Universities, I deny that it is hurtful to the public.
What the physicians of Edinburgh at present feel as a hardship is, perhaps, the real cause of their acknowledged superiority over the greater part of other physicians. The Royal College of Physicians there, you say, are obliged by their charter to grant a license, without examination, to all the graduates of Scotch Universities. You are all obliged, I suppose, in consequence of this, to consult sometimes with very unworthy brethren. You are all made to feel that you must rest no part of your dignity upon your degree, a distinction which you share with the men in the world, perhaps, whom you despise the most, but that you must found the whole of it upon your merit. Not being able to derive much consequence from the character of Doctor, you are obliged, perhaps, to attend more to your characters as men, as gentlemen, and as men of letters. The unworthiness of some of your brethren may, perhaps, in this manner be in part the cause of the very eminent and superior worth of many of the rest. The very abuse which you complain of may in this manner, perhaps, be the real source of your present excellence. You are at present well, wonderfully well, and when you are so, be assured there is always some danger in attempting to be better.
Adieu, my dear Doctor; after having delayed so long to write to you, I am afraid I shall get my lug in my lufe, as we say, for what I have written. But I ever am, most affectionately yours,
MS., RSE viii. 14; unpubl.
Geneva, 25 Feb. 1775
Mr Bonnet, the natural historian, has given me a commission which I cannot execute without your assistance. He wished to send his Reche[r]ches and Palingenesie to Mr Hume, but was at a loss in what manner he should send them. I desired him to write to Mr Hume [ ] his answer.
Vous le dirai–je Monsr? plus j’y reflechis, et moins je me sens porté à ecrire à votre illustre compatriote. Je paroitrois trop rechercher son suffrage; je lui laisserois même soupçonner que je fais assez de cas de mes petits ecrits pour esperer qu’ils feroient sur lui quelqu’ impression; enfin, ce qui seroit pis encore, j’aurois l’air de tenter une conversion, et je n’ais jamais eu la manie des conversions. Je sçais bien que son coeur honnête et vertueux se plairoit à applaudir mes faibles efforts, et a la moderation que j’ai porté dans des Recherches qui n’ont malheureusement excités que trop souvent la Bile des Ecrivains. Si vous presumés que ces ouvrages puissent interesser, tant soit peu, l’illustre philosophe, je vous prie de les lui envoyer, en l’assurant du cas singulier que l’Auteur fait de son merite, de ses talens et de ses lumieres. Mais, vous n’oublieres pas, surtout de lui dire bien que l’Auteur n’a pas songé le moins du monde à rompre une Lance avec le plus fameux Athlete de notre Siecle.
Ne vous oublies pas, je vous prie, auprés du Sage de Glascow vous voyés asses que je parle de Mr Smith, dont nous souviendrons toujours avec grand plaisir.
This gentleman and his Lady have been remarkably civil to me since I came to Geneva; and I was introduced to them as your acquaintance. He is, you know, of one of the first families here and a very estimable man. His religious ideas are probably different from Mr Hume’s—mais qu’est que ça fait. I beg you to send those two books, which Mr Cadell will deliver to you free of carriage, accompanied with a letter to Mr Hume; and I wish much that he may take in good part the good intentions of Mr Bonnet. I should be glad if you or Mr Hume would write him. This would gratify him extremely.
I remain here till Lord Lumley join me: I know nothing of our future expeditions nor of the time fixed for our travels.
I expected before this time to have seen you ag[ain] [ ] Tronchin and Le Sage beg to be remembered to you.
With great respect and Esteem I [have the] honour to be