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of which it treats, by his love of meta- the order and advance the moral and physics, and the profound and original political condition of society. The mind speculations which it contained; of Smith, which found in such subjects a inviting to the young and free inquirer boundless field for his contemplations, as they were alarming to the heads of might have been confined, and length the university. It was not till some contracted, by the professional study of years after this that the immortal author theological learning. The great truths of the work in question became known to of religion are as simple as they are subhis young disciple, and that that enduring lime; and their simplicity renders usefriendship was cemented betwixt them, less much that human ingenuity can do, which both of them have taken pains to while their sublimity defies it. To know record—“ a friendship on both sides God, says Seneca, is to worship him. founded on the admiration of genius and And much of this knowledge is attained the love of simplicity," as Mr. Stewart by looking attentively upon the glories has beautifully expressed it, and which, of his creation. without biassing the judgment of Smith, It is to be lamented that we know so must have exalted the pride and the little of the life of Smith during that pleasure which he felt, when years after part of it which was passed at Oxford. this, he cited him in the “ Wealth of What he thought of that university, of Nations" in language which many have its discipline and its studies, he told the thought savoured rather of the warmth world many years after in a memorable of friendship than the calmness of sober passage of the “Wealth of Nations *," judgment, as by far the most illustrious which has never been forgiven by the philosopher and historian of the present worshippers of Oxford, and by all those
who are prone to consider it a crime When Smith was sent to Oxford, it to point out the defects of any anhad been the intention of his family that cient institution. Strange it may seem he should study for the Church of Eng- that there should always be a numland. He remained seven years at that ber of persons prone to such a course, renowned seat of learning; but long seeing that the corruptions and abuses before he left it, not finding the ecclesi- which are incident to establishments of astical profession suited to his taste, he this kind, like the diseases in the animal had abandoned all such intention, and body, have a natural tendency to bring preferred the hopes of such small emo- on decay, and that the best friend to lument as his literary attainments might such institutions, like the best physiprocure for him in his own country, to cian, is he who first discovers the disthe higher prospects which the prudence order-a discovery necessarily anteceof his friends had pointed out. As there dent to the suggestion of the remedy. is every reason to admire the independ- Yet there are few mistakes so common ence of mind which induced him to as this in the world, and few more fatal abandon those prospects, we can have to its improvement. It is the error of none to regret it on any other ground, preferring the means to the end, the from the direction which was thus given mere instrun an instrument often to the studies and the labours of his
worn out, and sometimes become useless, future life. There is no doubt that had to the excellent purposes it was designed Dr. Smith voluntarily made the Church to work. It may be proper to enlarge a his profession, he would have adorned it little upon this topic, on account of the by genius and learning, that the purity unjust prejudice that has been excited of his life would have added force to against Dr. Smith, in consequence of his the precepts which it would have been animadversions upon Oxford, and is conhis duty to inculcate as a Christian stantly excited for the worst purposes teacher. But this advantage would against men like him, whose enlightened have been too dearly purchased. The and benevolent efforts for the improveChurch would more easily find a sub- ment of public institutions, instead of stitute for Smith as one of its ministers, gratitude, have often experienced cathan the world might have found one lumny and opposition. If Smith cenlike him, capable of unfolding for its sured the discipline, or rather the want instruction those laws equally divine in of discipline, and the abandonment of their origin and beneficent in their results duty in the tutors and professors of Oxwhen rightly apprehended, which regulate ford in his day, what' possible motive
* Book v. Ch. 1.
* Book v. Ch, 1. Part 3.
the acknowledged qualities of the man, and always spoke of it as useiui jor une but a zeal, a warm and indignant zeal, acquisition of the art of composition, it may be, in behalf of that learning and and for improvement in style. Gibbon science which was going to ruin, by has recommended the same practice in the neglect of those who were appointed his own Memoirs, and a mode of study, for their conservation ? Of course it we may venture to say, which was puris unnecessary to say that we refer not sued and praised by two such distinto Oxford as it now is; but if it has guished writers, is well worth the attenbeen reformed since the days of Smith, tion of all who cultivate literature. it has been reformed only, because Upon quitting Oxford, Smith returned some have been found bold and wise to Kirkaldy, where he continued to reenough, like him and after him, to side with his mother for two years, with proclaim that it stood in need of such the most ardent application to study, reformation. Far be it from us, and In 1748 he removed to Edinburgh, and from every friend of learning, to abate there commenced his connexion and that just' veneration for the institu- friendship with many of the distinguished tions of our country; those especially men who then adorned that city; and which have the promotion of science composed a society which included! and of virtue for their object, which is within its range an extent and variety really their due—due often to their an- of accomplishments, and a depth and tiquity - to the excellence of their solidity of philosophy and of learning, founders—and to the long catalogue of not easily equalled in any other, at illustrious men who have been bred any period of modern Europe. Among under them, and whose wisdom and its members we find a vast portion learning, whose virtue and heroism in of the names familiar to us, from after life, seem, by a very natural and having enriched the literature of our pleasing illusion, to become identified country in various departments, about with the places in which they were edu- the middle of the last century. Those cated.
of Hume and Robertson, of Blair, of Of the seven years which Smith passed Ferguson, of Lord Kames and John at Oxford little, indeed, has been re- Home, are known to every reader; but corded. We have scarcely an incident there were others not less accomplished relating to his private life, and as little though less known to posterity, whose do we know respecting his intellectual genius and talents added lustre, even to habits. Mr. Stewart presumes that he so brilliant an assemblage of men; Lord cultivated with particular care, at this Elibank, Sir Gilbert Elliot, Lord Loughtime, the study of languages;-a study borough, Sir William Pulteney, Lord for which it would seem he had an un- Monboddo, Dr. Logan; these, and many usual fondness, and in which, at all others, we find. enumerated in the “Seevents, he is known to have excelled. lect Society," which was formed in EdinBut Smith studied languages more as a burgh about that period; the list of philosopher than a scholar, as they which Mr. Stewart has preserved*. At serve to throw light on the manners, this time commenced his memorable the institutions, the modes of thought friendship with David Hume, the phipeculiar to different nations and ages. losopher who had led the way into those His knowledge of Greek was profound very regions of moral and political inand accurate; and his taste and high quiry, where Smith was destined to admiration for the drama and literature follow, guided chiefly, as he always of the Greeks, preserved to the latest confessed, and as was admitted by his period of his life, may be best traced to admirers, by that light which had been the studies and the society in which he shed upon them by the most subtle inmixed whilst at the university. Mr. tellect, perhaps, which ancient or modern Dalzell, the distinguished professor of Europe has produced t. Greek in the University of Edinburgh, It was not long after his settlement in has borne testimony to the extent and Edinburgh, that the friendly patronage accuracy of Dr. Smith's acquaintance of Lord Kames induced Smith to comwith that noble language, as often displayed in conversation with him on
* Appendix to the Life of Robertson. some of the nicest minutiæ of grammati- + It is hardly necessary to remind the reader that, cal criticism. He was accustomed at this
in the panegyrics pronounced upon Hume, we refer
merely to his celebrated writings upon moral and time to exercise himself in translation political science, and not to those upon religion.
mence a course of Lectures on Rhetoric tions, which contribute to persuasion or and Belles Lettres, which he continued entertainment. The first part of these for a considerable time; until the high lectures, in point of composition, was reputation which he had earned, seconded highly finished; and the whole discoby the zeal of his friends, procured for vered strong marks of taste and original him, in 1751, the professorship of Logic genius. His course of lectures on: in the university of Glasgow. In 1752, moral philosophy was divided into four upon the death of Mr. Thomas Craigie, parts. The first contained natural The was advanced to the chair of Moral theology, in which he considered the Philosophy in the same University; an proofs of the being and attributes of office which he continued to fill for thir. God, and those principles of the human teen years ;-a period which he was ac- mind on which religion is founded. The customed to look back upon, as the most second comprehended ethics strictly so useful and happy of his life. “ It was in- called ; in the third part, he treated at deed a situation,” says his biographer, “in more length of that branch of morality which he was eminently fitted to excel, which relates to justice.
Upon this and in which the daily labours of his subject he endeavoured to trace the profession were constantly recalling his gradual progress of jurisprudence, both attention to his favourite pursuits, and public and private, from the rudest to familiarising his mind to those important the most refined ages, and to point out speculations he was afterwards to com- the effects of those arts, which conmunicate to the world.”
tribute to subsistence, and to the It is greatly to be regretted, that no accumulation of property, in propart of his lectures whilst at Glasgow, ducing corresponding improvements in has been preserved ; but the following law and government. In the last brief and very interesting account of part of his lectures, he examined them was furnished by one of Dr. those political regulations, founded not Smith's pupils, who afterward became upon the principle of justice, but of one of his warmest and latest friends. expediency, and which are caleulated There is no necessity to apologise for to increase the riches, the power, and presenting it to our readers, seeing that the prosperity of a state: under this we cannot better supply the vacuum view he considered the political instithat would otherwise be left, owing totutions relating to commerce, to finances the very scanty materials which remain to ecclesiastical and military estafor a life of this distinguished man. blishments. In delivering his lectures, “ In the professorship of logic,” says he trusted almost entirely to extemone of his students, “to which Dr. porary elocution. His manner was plain Smith was appointed on his first intro- and unaffected, and as he seemed to be duction to this university, he soon always interested in his subject, he never saw the necessity of departing widely failed to interest his hearers. Each from the plan that had been followed discourse consisted of several distinct by his predecessors; and of directing propositions, which he endeavoured to the attention of his pupils to studies of prove and illustrate. In his attempts to a more interesting and useful nature explain them, he appeared af first than the logic and metaphysics of the not to be sufficiently possessed of the schools. Accordingly after exhibiting subject, and spoke with some hesitation: a general view of the powers of the as he advanced, the matter seemed to mind, and explaining so much of the crowd upon him, his manner became ancient logic as was requisite to gratify warm and animated, and his expression curiosity, with respect to an artificial easy and fluent. In points of conmethod of reasoning, which had once troversy, it was discernible that he conoccupied the universal attention of the ceived an opposition to be made to his learned, he dedicated the rest of his opinions, and that he was led to suptime to the delivery of a system of port them with greater energy and veRhetoric and Belles Lettres. The best hemence. By the fulness and variety of method of explaining and illustrating his illustrations the subject swelled in the various powers of the human mind, his hands, and acquired a dimension, the most useful part of metaphysics, arises which, without a repetition of the same from an examination of the several views, was calculated to seize the attenways of communicating our thoughts by tion of his audience, and to afford them speech, and from an attention to the pleasur
sure and instruction in following principles of those literary composi- the same object through all the diversity
backwards to that original proposition he, connected as he was with every or general truth from which this beau- literary character of any distinction in tiful train of speculation had proceeded. it, should know nothing of its authors, His reputation as a professor was raised It was determined at length that the very high; and a multitude of students secret should be communicated to him from a great distance resorted to the on a certain day, which was to be agreed University merely upon his account. upon, provided he would swear to preThose branches of science which he serve it. The day was fixed, -it was at taught became fashionable at this a dinner where they were all expected place, and his opinions were the chief to meet; the Review was mentioned ;topics of discussion in clubs and literary Hume expressed, as he had done before, societies. Even the peculiarities in his his surprise and curiosity on the subpronunciation, or manner of speaking, ject, when he was told by one of the became frequently the objects of imi- company, that provided he would take tation."
his oath not to divulge it, the secret In the year 1755, a few of the emi- should be communicated to him. "But nent men then at the head of literature how is the oath to be administered,"
in Scotland had established a journal said David, with his usual pleasantry, | under the title of the “Edinburgh Re- "to a man accused of so much scep
view;" a title rendered familiar to the ticism as I am ? you would not take my readers of the present day by the cele Bible oath, but I will swear by the brity of the literary periodical journal to radov, and the To TOEF0Y*, never to reveal under that name, which was established your secret." Unfortunately, either in the same city about half a century from want of perseverance in those conlater. All that we learn of the plan and nected with it, or of encouragement in object of this design must be gathered the public to any undertaking of the from the only two numbers which were kind, the Review was shortly after abanpublished of it. Smith, as is now well doned, and the distinguished partisan known, was a contributor, and, amongst whom they had thus enlisted, had no other papers, was the author of the opportunity of rendering his service in “Review of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary," its support. then recently published, and of a very The Select Society, which we have interesting letter addressed to the Editor, before mentioned, was another assoon the state of literature on the Conti- ciation of which Smith was a member; nent, especially that of France. To the formed for the purpose of philosophical curious in literary relics, even these inquiry, , and the cultivation of the art papers will be valuable, as appertain- of public speaking. It met for the first ing to so celebrated a man, and the time in the Advocates' Library in May first of the productions of his genius 1754, and ever after during the sitting of which were committed to the public. In the Court of Session, every Friday evenother respects it is perhaps unneces. ing., The most distinguished in the sary to say, that they can add nothing Society as speakers were Sir Gilbert to the fame of the writer. Dr. Ro- Elliot, Lord Elibank, and Dr. Robertbertson was also a contributor; Mr. son. “David Hume and Adam Smith," Hume was not; and we are indebted to says the memorial, never opened their Mr. Mackenzie for an amusing anecdote lips;" an intimation which may occasion accounting for the omission. Such, we some surprise, when it is considered are told, was the extreme artlessness of that the two men thus remarked for his character, that his friends feared being mute, were, unquestionably, the from it the discovery of their secret ;- most original and profound thinkers in as they also feared that their criticisms the whole of that gifted assemblage, as would be disarmed of all their force, well as the most elegant, and (in Mr. from the extreme gentleness of his na- Hume's case) the most fluent of writers, ture, which could not tolerate even the and possessing withal ample extent and exercise of literary warfare. The Review variety of learning and knowledge. But immediately on its appearance had at- however able and distinguished in the tracted, as might have been expected, chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow, considerable notice; and Mr. Hume and whatever talents he was known to was often expressing his astonishment possess in the circle of his friends, it amongst his friends, that a production of
* The beautiful and the fitting.
was not until the year 1759 that Dr. the success of the book, and could progSmith gave evidence to the world of nosticate with some probability, whether those talents, and laid the foundation it should be finally damned to oblivion, of his fame, by the publicacation of his or be registered in the temple of immorfirst great work, the Theory of Moral tality. Though it has been published Sentiments,” in which he may be sup- only a few weeks, I think there appear posed to embody the result of a part of already such strong symptoms that I his professional labours in the University can almost venture to foretel its fate. upon one of the most interesting pro- In short, it is this But I have been blems in the whole range of philosophi- interrupted by a foolish impertinent visit cal inquiry.
of one who has lately come from ScotThere are few things more pleasing land. He tells me that the University with respect to a character or a com- of Glasgow intend to declare Rouet's position of established genius, when we office vacant upon his going abroad with contemplate them at a distance, than to Lord Hope. I question not but you ascertain what were the opinions enter- will have our friend Ferguson in your tained of them by their contemporaries. eye, in case another project for procuring Fortunately we possess the most satis- him a place in the University of Edinfactory and delightful of all evidence burgh should fail. Ferguson has very upon this subject concerning the work much polished and improved his treatise before us; but before we enter upon on 'Refinement,'* and with some amendany remarks on this beautiful produc- ments it will make an admirable book, tion, we shall present our readers with a and discovers an elegant and a singular letter from Mr. Hume, addressed to Dr. genius. The Epigoniad' I hope will Smith, immediately after its publication. do, but it will be somewhat up-hill work. It would be an injury to withhold this As I doubt not but you consult the reeffusion of friendship, which possesses views sometimes, at present, you will see the highest claim upon our attention, in the • Critical Review' a letter upon from its connexion with one of the most that poem, and I desire you to employ important epochs in the life of the emi. your conjectures in finding out the aunent person of whom we are writing. thor—let me see a sample of your skill Mr. Hume happened to be in London in knowing hands by guessing at the during the publication of the “Theory person. I am afraid of Lord Kames's of Moral Sentiments," mixing in society Law Tracts;' a man might as well most distinguished for rank, taste, and think of making a fine sauce by a mixlearning, and always anxious, with the ture of wormwood and aloes, as an agreegenerosity and affection which charac- able composition by joining metaphysics terized him, to extend the fame and and Scotch law. However, the book I glory of his friend. If the work had believe has merit, though few people been lost to the world, and we had pose will take the pains of diving into it. sessed no other evidence of its merits, But to return to your book, and its sucand of the admiration excited by its cess in this town, I must tell you appearance, we might form a tolerable A plague of interruptions! I ordered estimate of both from the contents of myself to be denied, and yet here is one the following letter :
that has broken in upon me again. He
is a man of letters, and we have had a ' London, April 12th, 1759.
good deal of literary conversation. You “ MY DEAR SMITH,
told me that you were curious of literary “ I give you thanks for the agreeable anecdotes; and therefore I shall inform present of your «Theory. Wedder- you of a few that have come to my knowburn and I made presents of our copies ledge. I believe I have mentioned to to such of our acquaintances as we you already Helvetius's book “De l'Esthought good judges and proper to prit. It is worth your reading, not for spread the reputation of the book. I its philosophy, which I do not highly sent one to the Duke of Argyle, to Lord value, but for its agreeable composi. Lyttleton, Horace Walpole, Soame Jen- tiont. I had a letter from him a few nyns, and Burke, an Irish gentleman
* The same which he afterwarıls published under who lately wrote a very pretty treatise the title of “ An Essay on the History of Civil on the Sublime. Millar desired my per
+ This passage is of itself tolerably conclusive as mission to send one in your name to Dr. to the vulgar error of confounding Mr. Hume's philo-, Warburton. I have delayed writing to sophy with that of the
French materialists of the you, till I could tell you something of Vide page 10, and note, p. 13.
last century and their English disciples in this...