Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 299

THE OLL BLUE BOOKS

<http://oll.libertyfund.org/collection/160>

Anthologies from the Online Library of Liberty

THE INTRODUCTIONS TO THE GLASGOW EDITION OF THE WORKS AND CORRESPONDENCE OF ADAM SMITH (1981-1987)
<oll.libertyfund.org/title/2557>

THE OLL BLUE BOOK ANTHOLOGIES <http://oll.libertyfund.org/collection/160>

THE ONLINE LIBRARY OF LIBERTY (OLL) is a project of Liberty Fund, Inc., a private educational foundation established in 1960 to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The OLL website has a large collection of material about individual liberty, limited constitutional government, the free market, and peace. T exts are initially put online in a form which duplicates the way the books were originally published. They have been converted to electronic format but no change in the content has been made by the editors. We begin with a facsimile PDF of the original book and make electronic versions from that archival version of the text, typically in HTML, text based PDF, ePub, and Kindle formats. THE BLUE BOOK ANTHOLOGIES, on the other hand, are collections of texts which we have drawn from the books in the OLL. We have taken material by a particular author or on a particular theme and created our own, original anthologies. We have done this in order to make material which was scattered and difcult to nd more accessible to our readers. COPYRIGHT & FAIR USE. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information on each books title page, this material may be used freely for educational & academic purposes. It may not be distributed by third parties or used in any way for prot. AMAGI. The cuneiform inscription that appears in the logo and serves as a design element in all Liberty Fund books and websites is the earliest-known written appearance of the word freedom or liberty (amagi in Ancient Sumerian) It is taken from a clay document written about 2,300 B.C. in the Sumerian citystate of Lagash. T o nd out more about Liberty Fund, Inc. or the Online Library of Liberty Project, please contact the Director at <oll@libertyfund.org> or visit our websites <www.libertyfund.org> and <oll.libertyfund.org>. LIBERTY FUND, INC. 8335 Allison Pointe T rail, Suite 300 Indianapolis, IIndiana 46250-1684

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction ...............................................................................................................7
About the Glasgow Edition of the Works of Adam Smith .................................................7 Copyright information: ...........................................................................................................7 Fair Use Statement: ................................................................................................................7 Bibilographical Information ...................................................................................................8

The Life and Work of Adam Smith (1723-1790) ......................................................9


Adam Smith (1723-1790) .......................................................................................................9 A Timeline of the Life and Work of Adam Smith (1723-1790) [DMH] .............................10 The Life and Works of Adam Smith [Mossner and Ross] ...................................................12 Dugald Stewart's Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D. [January and March, 1793] ........................................................................................................................15 Introduction [I.S. Ross] ...............................................................................................................15 ACCOUNT of the LIFE AND WRITINGS of ADAM SMITH, LL.D. From the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh [Read by Mr Stewart, January 21, and March 18, 1793] ...............18 SECTION I. From Mr Smiths Birth till the publication of the Theory of Moral Sentiments .............18 Section II. Of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages ........23 Section III. From the Publication of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, till that of The Wealth of Nations ...........................................................................................................................................39 SECTION IV. Of the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations* .......................44 SECTION V. Conclusion of the Narrative .....................................................................................54 Notes to the LIFE OF ADAM SMITH, LL.D. ............................................................................59 Endnotes ....................................................................................................................................74

Introduction to Vol. 1 The Theory of Moral Sentiments [D.D. Raphael and A.L. Mace] .....................................................................................................................91

1. Formation of The Theory of Moral Sentiments .............................................................91 (a) Adam Smiths lectures on ethics ................................................................................................91 (b) Inuence of Stoic philosophy ...................................................................................................95 (c)Inuence of contemporary thinkers .............................................................................................99 2. Evolution .........................................................................................................................103 (a) Development between editions ................................................................................................103 (b) Relation of TMS to WN .....................................................................................................107 3. Reception ........................................................................................................................111 (a) Early comment and foreign translations ...................................................................................111 (b) Select bibliography ................................................................................................................117 4. The Text .........................................................................................................................120 (a) Account of editions 17 ........................................................................................................120 (b) Editorial policy ....................................................................................................................130 Endnotes ............................................................................................................................. 135

General Introduction to Vol. 2: The Wealth of Nations [R.H. Campbell and A.S Skinner] .................................................................................................................137
Scope and Method .............................................................................................................137 Social Theory .....................................................................................................................140 The Stages of Society .........................................................................................................146 Economic Theory and the Exchange Economy ................................................................152 The Role of the State .........................................................................................................162 The Institutional Relevance of the WN .............................................................................167 Smiths use of History ........................................................................................................175 Endnotes ............................................................................................................................. 183

Introductions to Volume III: Essays on Philosophical Subjects .............................190

1. General Introduction[1] [D.D. Raphael and A.S. Skinner] ...........................................190 I ..............................................................................................................................................190 II .............................................................................................................................................192 III ...........................................................................................................................................194 IV ............................................................................................................................................198 V .............................................................................................................................................201 Endnotes ..................................................................................................................................206 2. Introduction to Works edited and introduced by W.P.D. Wightman [Astronomy, Ancient Physics, etc] .........................................................................................................................208 The History of Astronomy .........................................................................................................213 The History of the Ancient Physics and the History of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics ..............221 3. Bibliographical Note .......................................................................................................225 Note on the Text ........................................................................................................................226 Endnotes ..................................................................................................................................226

Introduction to Volume IV: Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres [J.C. Bryce] ..... 228
1. The Manuscript ..............................................................................................................228 2. The Lectures ..................................................................................................................233 3. Considerations concerning the First Formation of Languages ......................................246 Note on the Text ........................................................................................................................249 4. Rhetoric and literary criticism ........................................................................................251 5. System and aesthetics .....................................................................................................254 Bibliographical Note ...........................................................................................................257

Introduction to Volume V: Lectures on Jurisprudence [R.L. Meek, D.D. Raphael, and P.G. Stein] .......................................................................................................258
1. Adam Smiths Lectures at Glasgow University ..............................................................258

2. The Two Reports of Smiths Jurisprudence Lectures ....................................................261 3. Adam Smiths Lecture Timetable in 17623 .................................................................267 4. The Collation of LJ(A) and LJ(B) ...................................................................................273 Notes on the collation .................................................................................................................276 5. Some Particular Aspects of the Report of 17623 ........................................................281 6. The Principles Adopted in the Transcription of the Texts ............................................283 i. Numbering of Pages ...............................................................................................................285 ii. Punctuation ...........................................................................................................................286 iii. Capitalization ......................................................................................................................286 iv. Straightforward Overwritings and Interlineations ......................................................................286 v. Contractions ..........................................................................................................................287 vi. Spelling Errors, Omissions, etc. ...............................................................................................287 vii. Paragraphing ......................................................................................................................288 viii. Deletions, Replacements, etc. .................................................................................................288 ix. Doubtful Readings, Illegible Words, Blanks in MS., etc. ...........................................................289 x. Treatment of the Verso Notes in LJ(A) .....................................................................................289 xi. Crossreferences ....................................................................................................................290 Endnotes ............................................................................................................................. 290

INTRODUCTION
About the Glasgow Edition of the Works of Adam Smith
The Glasgow Edition was originally commissioned to celebrate the bicentenary of The Wealth of Nations, Smiths greatest work and was published by Oxford University Press in a hard cover edition. The six titles of the Glasgow Edition, but not the associated volumes, are published in softcover by Liberty Fund. The online edition is published by Liberty Fund under license from Oxford University Press. This Edition is the authoritative, scholarly edition of Smiths works and each volume is accompanied by a detailed Introduction written by leading scholars in the eld. The introductions were written by D.D. Raphael and A.L. Mace, R H. Campbell, A.S. Skinner, W.P.D. Wightman, J.C. Bryce, R.L. Meek, P. G. Stein, E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross. We have gathered these informative introductions here, along with additional biographical material about Smith, in order to assist the reader is exploring the ideas of Smith further. The introductions are reproduced here in their entirely with no alteration and links back to the full volumes from which they are taken are provided.

Copyright information:
The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith and the associated volumes are published in hardcover by Oxford University Press. The six titles of the Glasgow Edition, but not the associated volumes, are being published in softcover by Liberty Fund. The online edition is published by Liberty Fund under license from Oxford University Press. Oxford University Press 1976. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be stored transmitted retransmitted lent or reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of Oxford University Press.

Fair Use Statement:


This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for prot.

Bibilographical Information
Adam Smith, The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). 7 vols. <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/197>. 1. Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Mace, vol. I of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/192>. 2. Adam Smith, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 2 Vols., ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/220>. 3. Adam Smith, Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W. P. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce, vol. III of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/201>. 4. Adam Smith, Lectures On Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, ed. J. C. Bryce, vol. IV of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/202>. 5. Adam Smith, Lectures On Jurisprudence, ed. R.. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael and P. G. Stein, vol. V of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/196>. 6. Adam Smith, Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/203>.

THE LIFE AND WORK OF ADAM SMITH (1723-1790)

Adam Smith (1723-1790)


Adam Smith (1723-1790) is commonly regarded as the rst modern economist with the publication in 1776 of The Wealth of Nations. He wrote in a wide range of disciplines: moral philosophy, jurisprudence, rhetoric and literature, and the history of science. He was one of the leading gures in the Scottish Enlightenment. Smith also studied the social forces giving rise to competition, trade, and markets. While professor of logic, and later professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow University, he also had the opportunity to travel to France, where he met Franois Quesnay and the physiocrats; he had friends in business and the government, and drew broadly on his observations of life as well as careful statistical work summarizing his ndings in tabular form. He is viewed as the founder of modern economic thought, and his work inspires economists to this day. For additional information about Smith nd his contemporaries see the following resources at the Online Library of Liberty: a list of works in various electronic formats can be found at the main bio page: Adam Smith (1723-1790) <http://oll.libertyfund.org/person/44>.

works by other members of the Scottish Enlihgtenment: School of Thought: The Scottish Enlightenment <http://oll.libertyfund.org/collection/19> : Resources : Essays : On Adam Smith Fo r u m <http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=73 &Itemid=277>. List: Readings on Adam Smith Reading <http://oll.libertyfund.org/readinglists/view/282-readings_on_adam_smith>.

A Timeline of the Life and Work of Adam Smith (1723-1790) [DMH]


Source: Timelines in various sizes and formats are available at the OLL website: PDF <http://les.libertyfund.org/img/Smith.pdf> JPG <http://les.libertyfund.org/img/AdamSmith_Timeline2339.jpg> JPG <http://les.libertyfund.org/img/Smith1200.jpg>

10

11

The Life and Works of Adam Smith [Mossner and Ross]


Source: In Adam Smith, Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E. C. Mossner and I. S. Ross, vol. VI of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987). <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/203/57672/923352>.

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.17327 attended Kirkcaldy Burgh School 173740 attended Glasgow University; taught by Francis Hutcheson; grad. M.A. with distinction 17406 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 17468 lived with his mother in Kirkcaldy 174851 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 articles in Edinburgh Review: A DicAndrew Cochrane, Provost of Glasgow tionary 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 1755Jan. 1756) 1758 Quaestor for Glasgow University Library, served until 1760 1759 visited Inveraray, home of Archibald 3rd Duke of TMS ed. 1 Argyll

12

1760 1761

1762 1763 1764

1765 1766

1766

1767

1773 1774 1776

chosen Dean of Arts, served until 1763; summer jaunt for health reasons to England; visited the home of Lord Shelburne at High Wycombe Vicerector of Glasgow University, served until Considerations concerning the 1763; in London on University business, late Aug. First Formation of Languages, and early Oct. the Different Genius of Original and Compounded Languages, The Philological Miscellany i (1761) 440 79 TMS ed. 2 3 May made a Burgess of Glasgow; 21 Oct. nominated Glasgow LL.D. 8 Nov. gave notice of resignation of his Chair; resigned 14 Feb. 1764, from Paris 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 Dukes brother, the Hon. Hew Campbell Scott 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 In Paris Jan.Oct., on friendly terms with the La Rochefoucauld circle, Mme de Boufers, 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 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) TMS ed. 3 MayApr. 1773 lived in Kirkcaldy with his mother, working on WN; made a Burgess of Edinburgh, June 1770 MayApr. 1776 in London, working on WN; elected member of The Club which Joshua Reynolds had founded as a forum for Dr. Johnson TMS ed. 4 9 Mar. publication of WN; MayDec. in Kirkcaldy, WN visited Hume in Edinburgh during his last illness

13

1777

Jan.beginning of Oct. in London Oct.Jan. 1778 in Kirkcaldy and Edinburgh

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 nephews son; resumed membership of the Poker Club; gave Sunday suppers for friends among the literati and distinguished visitors

Letter to Strahan (9 Nov. 1776) on the death of Hume, Scots Magazine xxxi (Jan. 1777), 57 ? composed Thoughts on the State of the Contest with America WN ed. 2 (early in the year)

1781 1782 1783 1784 1786 1787

1788 1789 1790 1795 1896 1933 1963 1977

TMS ed. 5 in London, attended dinners of The Club; returned to Scotland early in July founder member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; served as one of the presidents of its literary class Apr. accompanied Edmund Burke to Glasgow for WN ed. 3 (Additions and Correchis installation as Lord Rector of the University; his tions to eds. 1 and 2 were printed mother died on 23 May separately) WN ed. 4 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 sometime after Sept. Janet Douglas died WN ed. 5 May 17 July, Adam Smith died in Panmure House; TMS ed. 6 (revised and enlarged) buried in the Canongate kirkyard Posthumous Publications EPS, ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton LJ (B), ed. Edwin Cannan Smiths Thoughts on the State of the Contest with America, February 1778, ed. G. H. Guttridge, American Historical Review xxxviii. 71420 LRBL, ed. John M. Lothian LJ (A), ed. Ronald Meek, D. D. Raphael, and Peter Stein

14

Dugald Stewart's Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D. [January and March, 1793]
Source: Adam Smith, Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W. P. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce, vol. III of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982). Chapter: Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D. From the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh [Read by Mr Stewart, January 21, and March 18, 1793]. <http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/201/56054>. Introduction [I.S. Ross] I hate biography was the confession of Dugald Stewart (17531828) in a letter of 1797, but it appears that of the three pieces of this kind which he wrote for presentation to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the one on Adam Smith was most to his taste (Works, ed. Hamilton, x. lxxv, n.1). Indeed, as a member of Smiths circle, and like him a Scots professor of moral philosophy, inheriting and transmitting the same intellectual tradition, Stewart was a logical choice as a memorialist of Smith, and he must have felt some afnity for this project. The rst news of it comes in a letter of 10 August 1790 to Smiths heir, David Douglas, in which John Millar, distinguished Professor of Civil Law at Glasgow University, and a former pupil of Smith, welcomes the idea of publishing the posthumous essays (EPS), and states: It will give me the greatest pleasure to contribute any hints to Mr Stuart with regard to Mr Smiths professorial talents, or any other particular you mention, while he remained at Glasgow (Glasgow University Library, MS. Gen. 1035/178). True to his word, Millar sent some particulars about Dr. Smith to Stewart in December of the same year, and on 17 August 1792 the latter reported to the publisher Thomas Cadell as follows: Mr Smiths papers with the Account of his life will be ready for the press the beginning of next winter (National Library of Scotland, MS. 5319, f. 34). Cadell offered terms for the book to Henry Mackenzie, one of the privy council advising Douglas about the publication, on 21 December 1792 (GUL, MS. Gen. 1035/177), and Stewart wrote to Cadell on 13 March of the following year to say that he had nished the Account and was ready to send it to the press immediately. (In fact, he read it at meetings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 21 January and 18 March 1793.) In the same letter to Cadell, Stewart mentions that neither the RSE Transactions nor EPS is likely to appear this Season, and he asks if a separate publication could be considered: more especially, as [my papers] have Swelled to Such a Size, that I suspect they must be printed in an abridged form in the Transactions (NLS, MS. 5319, ff. 356). As matters turned out, the rst edition of the Account was published in the third volume of the RSE Transactions (1794), and when EPS was published in 1795, under the editorship of Joseph Black and James Hutton, Smiths literary executors, the Account was printed as the rst piece, with some minor changes from the RSE text. In 1810, Stewart withdrew from active teaching at
15

Edinburgh University because of failing health, and among other projects undertook the revision of his RSE papers for publication as Biographical Memoirs of Adam Smith, William Robertson, and Thomas Reid (1811). In the preface to this book, the author stated his belief that for Smith and Reid he had nearly exhausted all the information available, and that he had been induced to connect with the slender thread of [his] narration a variety of speculative discussions and illustration (vi). These provide a useful commentary on some of Smiths ideas, and include such valuable material as Millars description of Smiths course of lectures at Glasgow (I.1622). Also, discussing Smiths thought in relation to that of the French economists, Stewart presented a fragment of a paper written by Smith in 1755, in which some of his leading ideas are outlined (IV.25). Stewarts version of both documents is all that has survived, the originals perhaps being destroyed with Stewarts own papers by his son when suffering from paranoia (Works, viii. xxi; x. iii). In the preface to the Memoirs, Stewart further states that he left the text of the Account of Smith as it was (i.e. in 17945), with the exception of some triing verbal corrections, and added to it notes that were entirely new (vii). In the same year as the Memoirs appeared, Stewart published an edition of Smiths Works (181112), incorporating in the fth volume the Memoirs text of the Account, but omitting at the conclusion two paragraphs describing EPS, and one dealing with the preference of Smith and his circle for the plain style of Mr rather than the honoric Doctor. In a letter to ?William Davies, Cadells partner, dated 26 July 1810, Stewart suggests that since Smiths Works are to be printed in London, they should be put into the hands of some corrector whose accuracy can be relied on, desiring him to follow the text of the last Editions published before Mr Smiths death. Stewart will correct EPS himself, and he asks that the Account of Smith be printed last, as I have some Slight alterations to make on it, and intend to add a few paragraphs to some of the Sections. Stewart continues that in a Week or two I propose to begin to print the 4to Edition of Lives [i.e. Memoirs], presumably in Edinburgh under his own eye (NLS, MS. 5319, ff.3940). Subsequently, Stewarts Works (185460) were themselves edited by Sir William Hamilton (17881856) at the end of his life, and the Account of Smith found its place in the tenth volume (1858). The advertisement to this volume, written by John Veitch (182994), states that the memoirs of Smith, Robertson, and Reid were printed under . . . Hamiltons revision and superintendence, from private copies belonging to [Stewart] which contained a few manuscript additions by him (x. vii). One such private copy survives in Edinburgh University Library (MS. Df. 4. 52*), consisting of an EPS text of the Account of Smith with marginal corrections in Stewarts hand (pp. 46, 57, 63) and indicators for notes, followed by Notes A to I of the present edition, all in Stewarts hand save that of Note D, which is in that of an amanuensis. Stewart must have worked on this private copy after 1821, because Note E refers to Morellets Mmoires published in that year. All the last additions of the EUL private copy are incorporated in Hamiltons text of the Account of Smith, with the triing exception of the la in la Rochefoucauld (303, below), and it is tempting to use the 1858 edition as the copytext for our present purpose. However, in his
16

Memoir of Hamilton (1869), John Veitch prints letters indicating that Hamilton was fatally ill during the editing of Stewarts Works, and was assisted by a Miss Petre, formerly governess to his daughter (3623). Indeed, Hamilton died before the tenth volume appeared and its publication was supervised by Veitch. In view of these facts, it has been thought best to make the 1811 Memoirs version of the Account of Smith the copytext for this edition, as the one containing the fullest amount of biographical material directly authorized by Stewart himself, also as the text he personally revised for publication. A letter of 1798 by Stewart makes the claim, at least, that he read proof carefully: The very great alterations and corrections which I have been in the habit of making during the time that the printing of my books was going on, put it out of my power to let anything out of my hands till it has undergone the very last revisal (Works, x. xxxi, n.4.). Within each section of the text paragraphs have been numbered to facilitate references and citations. Asterisks and daggers point Stewarts notes, and the signal 5 after a note indicates that it comes from Hamiltons 1858 edition. Superscript letters refer the reader to textual notes preserving substantive readings from the editions of 1794 and 1795, identied as 1 and 2. The authors last additions of the EUL private copy mentioned above are identied by that very phrase. The modern convention for indicating quotations has been adopted, and translations of Latin quotations have been supplied, in some cases from Stewarts Works edited by Hamilton. The present editors notes are numbered consecutively, with material added by him placed within round brackets, and the General Editors notes are placed within square brackets. Whereas Smith considered every species of note as a blemish or imperfection; indicating, either an idle accumulation of superuous particulars, or a want of skill and comprehension in the general design (Stewart, Works, x.16970), Stewart followed the practice of Robertson in placing discursive notes at the end of the text. For the sake of convenience, these endnotes have been retained below, with the last additions, principally D and E, duly identied. List of the Editions of Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D.

1 1794 Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (T. Cadell: London; J. Dickson and E. Balfour: Edinburgh), iii.55137. 2 1795 EPS, ixcxxiii. 3 1811 Biographical memoirs of Adam Smith, LL.D. of William Robertson, D.D. and of Thomas Reid, D.D. (W. Creech, Bell and Bradfute, and A. Constable: Edinburgh; F. and C. Rivington et al. [including Cadell and Davies]: London), 3152. 4 1811 The Works of Adam Smith, LL.D., ed. Dugald Stewart, 5 vols. (T. Cadell and W. Davies et al.: London; W. Creech, and Bell and Bradfute: Edinburgh), v.403552. 5 1858 The Collected Works of Dugald Stewart, Esq., F.R.S., ed. Sir William Hamilton, Bart., 11 vols. (Thomas Constable and Co.: Edinburgh; Little, Brown, and Co.: Boston), x.198.

17

ACCOUNT of the LIFE AND WRITINGS of ADAM SMITH, LL.D. From the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh [Read by Mr Stewart, January 21, and March 18, 1793] SECTION I. From Mr Smiths Birth till the publication of the Theory of Moral Sentiments Adam Smith, author of the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, was the son of Adam Smith, comptroller of the customs at Kirkaldy* , and of Margaret Douglas, daughter of Mr Douglas of Strathenry. He was the only child of the marriage, and was born at Kirkaldy on the 5th of June 1723, a few months after the death of his father. His constitution during infancy was inrm and sickly, and required all the tender solicitude of his surviving parent. She was blamed for treating him with an unlimited indulgence; but it produced no unfavourable effects on his temper or his dispositions:and he enjoyed the rare satisfaction of being able to repay her affection, by every attention that lial gratitude could dictate, during the long period of sixty years. An accident which happened to him when he was about three years old, is of too interesting a nature to be omitted in the account of so valuable a life. He had been carried by his mother to Strathenry, on a visit to his uncle Mr Douglas, and was one day amusing himself alone at the door of the house, when he was stolen by a party of that set of vagrants who are known in Scotland by the name of tinkers. Luckily he was soon missed by his uncle, who, hearing that some vagrants had passed, pursued them, with what assistance he could nd, till he overtook them in Leslie wood; and was the happy instrument of preserving to the world a genius, which was destined, not only to extend the boundaries of science, but to enlighten and reform the commercial policy of Europe. The school of Kirkaldy, where Mr Smith received the rst rudiments of his education, was then taught by Mr David Miller, a teacher, in his day, of considerable reputation, and whose name deserves to be recorded, on account of the eminent men whom that very obscure seminary produced while under his direction. Of this number were Mr Oswald of Dunikeir* ; his brother, Dr John Oswald, afterwards Bishop of Raphoe; and our late excellent colleague, the Reverend Dr John Drysdale: all of them nearly contemporary with Mr Smith, and united with him through life by the closest ties of friendship.One of his schoolfellows is still alive ; and to his kindness I am principally indebted for the scanty materials which form the rst part of this narrative. Among these companions of his earliest years, Mr Smith soon attracted notice, by his passion for books, and by the extraordinary powers of his memory. The weakness of his bodily constitution prevented him from partaking in their more active amusements; but he was much beloved by them on account of his temper, which, though warm, was to an uncommon degree friendly and generous. Even then he was remarkable for those habits which remained with him through life, of speaking to himself when alone, and of absence in company.
18

From the grammarschool of Kirkaldy, he was sent, in 1737, to the university of Glasgow, where he remained till 1740, when he went to Baliol college, Oxford, as an exhibitioner on Snells foundation. Dr Maclaine of the Hague, who was a fellowstudent of Mr Smiths at Glasgow, told me some years ago, that his favourite pursuits while at that university were mathematics and natural philosophy; and I remember to have heard my father remind him of a geometrical problem of considerable difculty, about which he was occupied at the time when their acquaintance commenced, and which had been proposed to him as an exercise by the celebrated Dr Simpson. These, however, were certainly not the sciences in which he was formed to excel; nor did they long divert him from pursuits more congenial to his mind. What Lord Bacon says of Plato may be justly applied to him: Illum, licet ad rempublicam non accessisset, tamen natur et inclinatione omnino ad res civiles propensum, vires eo praecipue intendisse; neque de Philosophia Naturali admodum sollicitum esse; nisi quatenus ad Philosophi nomen et celebritatem tuendam, et ad majestatem quandam moralibus et civilibus doctrinis addendam et aspergendam sufceret* . The study of human nature in all its branches, more particularly of the political history of mankind, opened a boundless eld to his curiosity and ambition; and while it afforded scope to all the various powers of his versatile and comprehensive genius, gratied his ruling passion, of contributing to the happiness and the improvement of society. To this study, diversied at his leisure hours by the less severe occupations of polite literature, he seems to have devoted himself almost entirely from the time of his removal to Oxford; but he still retained, and retained even in advanced years, a recollection of his early acquisitions, which not only added to the splendour of his conversation, but enabled him to exemplify some of his favourite theories concerning the natural progress of the mind in the investigation of truth, by the history of those sciences in which the connection and succession of discoveries may be traced with the greatest advantage. If I am not mistaken too, the inuence of his early taste for the Greek geometry may be remarked in the elementary clearness and fulness, bordering sometimes upon prolixity, with which he frequently states his political reasonings.The lectures of the profound and eloquent Dr Hutcheson, which he had attended previous to his departure from Glasgow, and of which he always spoke in terms of the warmest admiration, had, it may be reasonably presumed, a considerable effect in directing his talents to their proper objects . I have not been able to collect any information with respect to that part of his youth which was spent in England. I have heard him say, that he employed himself frequently in the practice of translation, (particularly from the French), with a view to the improvement of his own style: and he used often to express a favourable opinion of the utility of such exercises, to all who cultivate the art of composition. It is much to be regretted, that none of his juvenile attempts in this way have been preserved; as the few specimens which his writings contain of his skill as a translator, are sufcient to shew the eminence he had attained in a walk of literature, which, in our country, has been so little frequented by men of genius. It was probably also at this period of his life, that he cultivated with the greatest care the study of languages. The knowledge he possessed of these, both ancient and modern, was un19

commonly extensive and accurate; and, in him, was subservient, not to a vain parade of tasteless erudition, but to a familiar acquaintance with every thing that could illustrate the institutions, the manners, and the ideas of different ages and nations. How intimately he had once been conversant with the more ornamental branches of learning; in particular, with the works of the Roman, Greek, French, and Italian poets, appeared sufciently from the hold which they kept of his memory, after all the different occupations and inquiries in which his maturer faculties had been employed* . In the English language, the variety of poetical passages which he was not only accustomed to refer to occasionally, but which he was able to repeat with correctness, appeared surprising even to those, whose attention had never been directed to more important acquisitions. After a residence at Oxford of seven years, he returned to Kirkaldy, and lived two years with his mother; engaged in study, but without any xed plan for his future life. He had been originally destined for the Church of England, and with that view had been sent to Oxford; but not nding the ecclesiastical profession suitable to his taste, he chose to consult, in this instance, his own inclination, in preference to the wishes of his friends; and abandoning at once all the schemes which their prudence had formed for him, he resolved to return to his own country, and to limit his ambition to the uncertain prospect of obtaining, in time, some one of those moderate preferments, to which literary attainments lead in Scotland. In the year 1748, he xed his residence at Edinburgh, and during that and the following years, read lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres, under the patronage of Lord Kames. About this time, too, he contracted a very intimate friendship, which continued without interruption till his death, with Mr Alexander Wedderburn,1 now Lord Loughborough, and with Mr William Johnstone, now Mr Pulteney. At what particular period his acquaintance with Mr David Hume commenced, does not appear from any information that I have received; but from some papers, now in the possession of Mr Humes nephew, and which he has been so obliging as to allow me to peruse, their acquaintance seems to have grown into friendship before the year 1752. It was a friendship on both sides founded on the admiration of genius, and the love of simplicity; and, which forms an interesting circumstance in the history of each of these eminent men, from the ambition which both have shewn to record it to posterity. In 1751, he was elected Professor of Logic in the University of Glasgow; and, the year following, he was removed to the Professorship of Moral Philosophy in the same University, upon the death of Mr Thomas Craigie, the immediate successor of Dr Hutcheson. In this situation he remained thirteen years; a period he used frequently to look back to, as the most useful and happy of his life.2 It was indeed a situation in which he was eminently tted to excel, and in which the daily labours of his profession were constantly recalling his attention to his favourite pursuits, and familiarizing his mind to those important speculations he was afterwards to communicate to the world. In this view, though it afforded, in the meantime, but a very narrow scene for his ambition, it was probably instrumental, in no inconsiderable degree, to the future eminence of his literary character.

20

Of Mr Smiths lectures while a Professor at Glasgow, no part has been preserved, excepting what he himself published in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and in the Wealth of Nations. The Society therefore, I am persuaded, will listen with pleasure to the following short account of them, for which I am indebted to a gentleman who was formerly one of Mr Smiths pupils, and who continued till his death to be one of his most intimate and valued friends* . In the Professorship of Logic, to which Mr Smith was appointed on his rst introduction into this University, he soon saw the necessity of departing widely from the plan that had been followed by his predecessors, and of directing the attention of his pupils to studies of a more interesting and useful nature than the logic and metaphysics of the schools. Accordingly, after exhibiting a general view of the powers of the mind, and explaining so much of the ancient logic as was requisite to gratify curiosity with respect to an articial method of reasoning, which had once occupied the universal attention of the learned, he dedicated all the rest of his time to the delivery of a system of rhetoric and belles lettres. The best method of explaining and illustrating the various powers of the human mind,3 the most useful part of metaphysics, arises from an examination of the several ways of communicating our thoughts by speech, and from an attention to the principles of those literary compositions which contribute to persuasion or entertainment. By these arts, every thing that we perceive or feel, every operation of our minds, is expressed and delineated in such a manner, that it may be clearly distinguished and remembered. There is, at the same time, no branch of literature more suited to youth at their rst entrance upon philosophy than this, which lays hold of their taste and their feelings. It is much to be regretted, that the manuscript containing Mr Smiths lectures on this subject was destroyed before his death. The rst part, in point of composition, was highly nished; and the whole discovered strong marks of taste and original genius. From the permission given to students of taking notes, many observations and opinions contained in these lectures have either been detailed in separate dissertations, or engrossed in general collections, which have since been given to the public. But these, as might be expected, have lost the air of originality and the distinctive character which they received from their rst author, and are often obscured by that multiplicity of commonplace matter in which they are sunk and involved. About a year after his appointment to the Professorship of Logic, Mr Smith was elected to the chair of Moral Philosophy. His course of lectures on this subject was divided into four parts. The rst contained Natural Theology; in which he considered the proofs of the being and attributes of God, and those principles of the human mind upon which religion is founded. The second comprehended Ethics, strictly so called, and consisted chiey of the doctrines which he afterwards published in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. In the third part, he treated at more length of that branch of morality which relates to justice, and which, being susceptible of precise and accurate rules, is for that reason capable of a full and particular explanation. Upon this subject he followed the plan that seems to be suggested by Montesquieu; endeavouring to trace the gradual progress of jurisprudence, both public and private, from the rudest to the most rened ages, and to point out the effects of those arts which contribute to subsistence, and to the accumulation of property, in producing correspondent improvements or alterations in
21

law and government.4 This important branch of his labours he also intended to give to the public; but this intention, which is mentioned in the conclusion of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, he did not live to full.5 In the last part of his lectures, he examined those political regulations which are founded, not upon the principle of justice, but that of expediency, and which are calculated to increase the riches, the power, and the prosperity of a State. Under this view, he considered the political institutions relating to commerce, to nances, to ecclesiastical and military establishments. What he delivered on these subjects contained the substance of the work he afterwards published under the title of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. There was no situation in which the abilities of Mr Smith appeared to greater advantage than as a Professor. In delivering his lectures, he trusted almost entirely to extemporary elocution. His manner, though not graceful, was plain and unaffected; and, as he seemed to be always interested in the subject, he never failed to interest his hearers. Each discourse consisted commonly of several distinct propositions, which he successively endeavoured to prove and illustrate.6 These propositions, when announced in general terms, had, from their extent, not unfrequently something of the air of a paradox.7 In his attempts to explain them, he often appeared, at rst, not to be sufciently possessed of the subject, and spoke with some hesitation. As he advanced, however, the matter seemed to crowd upon him, his manner became warm and animated, and his expression easy and uent. In points susceptible of controversy, you could easily discern, that he secretly conceived an opposition to his opinions, and that he was led upon this account to support them with greater energy and vehemence. By the fulness and variety of his illustrations, the subject gradually swelled in his hands, and acquired a dimension which, without a tedious repetition of the same views, was calculated to seize the attention of his audience, and to afford them pleasure, as well as instruction, in following the same object, through all the diversity of shades and aspects in which it was presented, and afterwards in tracing it backwards to that original proposition or general truth from which this beautiful train of speculation had proceeded. His reputation as a Professor was accordingly raised very high, and a multitude of students from a great distance resorted to the University, merely upon his account. Those branches of science which he taught became fashionable at this place, and his opinions were the chief topics of discussion in clubs and literary societies. Even the small peculiarities in his pronunciation or manner of speaking, became frequently the objects of imitation. While Mr Smith was thus distinguishing himself by his zeal and ability as a public teacher, he was gradually laying the foundation of a more extensive reputation, by preparing for the press his system of morals. The rst edition of this work appeared in 1759, under the title of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Hitherto Mr Smith had remained unknown to the world as an author; nor have I heard that he had made a trial of his powers in any anonymous publications, excepting in a periodical work called The Edinburgh Review, which was begun in the year 1755, by some gentlemen of distinguished abilities, but which they were prevented by other engagements from carrying farther than the two rst numbers. To this work Mr Smith contributed a review of Dr Johnsons Dictionary of
22

the English Language, and also a letter, addressed to the editors, containing some general observations on the state of literature in the different countries of Europe. In the former of these papers, he points out some defects in Dr Johnsons plan, which he censures as not sufciently grammatical. The different signications of a word (he observes) are indeed collected; but they are seldom digested into general classes, or ranged under the meaning which the word principally expresses: And sufcient care is not taken to distinguish the words apparently synonymous. To illustrate this criticism, he copies from Dr Johnson the articles but and humour, and opposes to them the same articles digested agreeably to his own idea. The various signications of the word but are very nicely and happily discriminated. The other article does not seem to have been executed with equal care.8 The observations on the state of learning in Europe are written with ingenuity and elegance; but are chiey interesting, as they shew the attention which the Author had given to the philosophy and literature of the Continent, at a period when they were not much studied in this island. In the same volume with the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Mr Smith published a Dissertation on the Origin of Languages, and on the different Genius of those which are original and compounded.9 The remarks I have to offer on these two discourses, I shall, for the sake of distinctness, make the subject of a separate section. Section II. Of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages The science of Ethics has been divided by modern writers into two parts; the one comprehending the theory of Morals, and the other its practical doctrines. The questions about which the former is employed, are chiey the two following. First, By what principle of our constitution are we led to form the notion of moral distinctions;whether by that faculty which, in the other branches of human knowledge, perceives the distinction between truth and falsehood; or by a peculiar power of perception (called by some the Moral Sense) which is pleased with one set of qualities, and displeased with another? Secondly, What is the proper object of moral approbation? or, in other words, What is the common quality or qualities belonging to all the different modes of virtue?1 Is it benevolence; or a rational selflove; or a disposition (resulting from the ascendant of Reason over Passion) to act suitably to the different relations in which we are placed? These two questions seem to exhaust the whole theory of Morals. The scope of the one is to ascertain the origin of our moral ideas; that of the other, to refer the phenomena of moral perception to their most simple and general laws. The practical doctrines of morality comprehend all those rules of conduct which profess to point out the proper ends of human pursuit, and the most effectual means of attaining them; to which we may add all those literary compositions, whatever be their particular form, which have for their aim to fortify and animate our good dispositions, by delineations of the beauty, of the dignity, or of the utility of Virtue.
23

I shall not inquire at present into the justness of this division. I shall only observe, that the words Theory and Practice are not, in this instance, employed in their usual acceptations. The theory of Morals does not bear, for example, the same relation to the practice of Morals, that the theory of Geometry bears to practical Geometry. In this last science, all the practical rules are founded on theoretical principles previously established: But in the former science, the practical rules are obvious to the capacities of all mankind; the theoretical principles form one of the most difcult subjects of discussion that ahavea ever exercised the ingenuity of metaphysicians. In illustrating the doctrines of practical morality, (if we make allowance for some unfortunate prejudices produced or encouraged by violent and oppressive systems of policy), the ancients seem to have availed themselves of every light furnished by nature to human reason; and indeed those writers who, in later times, have treated the subject with the greatest success, are they who have followed most closely the footsteps of the Greek and the Roman philosophers. The theoretical question, too, concerning the essence of virtue, or the proper object of moral approbation, was a favourite topic of discussion in the ancient schools. The question concerning the principle of moral approbation, though not entirely of modern origin, has been chiey agitated since the writings of Dr Cudworth, in opposition to those of Mr Hobbes; and it is this question accordingly (recommended at once by its novelty and difculty to the curiosity of speculative men), that has produced most of the theories which characterize and distinguish from each other the later systems of moral philosophy. It was the opinion of Dr Cudworth, and also of Dr Clarke, that moral distinctions are perceived by that power of the mind, which distinguishes truth from falsehood.2 This system it was one great object of Dr Hutchesons philosophy to refute, and in opposition to it, to show that the words Right and Wrong express certain agreeable and disagreeable qualities in actions, which it is not the province of reason but of feeling to perceive; and to that power of perception which renders us susceptible of pleasure or of pain from the view of virtue or of vice, he gave the name of the Moral Sense.3 His reasonings upon this subject are in the main acquiesced in, both by Mr Hume and Mr Smith; but they differ from him in one important particular,Dr Hutcheson plainly supposing, that the moral sense is a simple principle of our constitution, of which no account can be given; whereas the other two philosophers have both attempted to analyze it into other principles more general. Their systems, however, with respect to it are very different from each other. According to Mr Hume, all the qualities which are denominated virtuous, are useful either to ourselves or to others, and the pleasure which we derive from the view of them is the pleasure of utility.4 Mr Smith, without rejecting entirely Mr Humes doctrine, proposes another of his own, far more comprehensive; a doctrine with which he thinks all the most celebrated theories of morality invented by his predecessors coincide in part, and from some partial view of which he apprehends that they have all proceeded. Of this very ingenious and original theory, I shall endeavour to give a short abstract. To those who are familiarly acquainted with it as it is stated by its author, I am aware that the attempt may appear superuous; but I atter myself that it will not be wholly useless to such as have not been much conversant in these abstract disquisitions, by presenting to them the leading principles of

24

the system in one connected view, without those interruptions of the attention which necessarily arise from the authors various and happy illustrations, and from the many eloquent digressions which animate and adorn his composition. The fundamental principle of Mr Smiths theory is, that the primary objects of our moral perceptions are the actions of other men; and that our moral judgments with respect to our own conduct are only applications to ourselves of decisions which we have already passed on the conduct of our neighbour. His work accordingly bincludes two distinct inquiries, which, although sometimes blended together in the execution of his general design, it is necessary for the reader to discriminate carefully from each other, in order to comprehend all the different bearings of the authors argument. The aim of the former inquiry is, to explain in what manner we learn to judge of the conduct of our neighbour; that of the latter, to shew how, by applying these judgments to ourselves, we acquire a sense of duty, and a feeling of its paramount authority over all our other principles of action.b Our moral judgments, both with respect to our own conduct and that of others, include two distinct perceptions: rst, A perception of conduct as right or wrong; and, secondly, A perception of the merit or demerit of the agent. To that quality of conduct which moralists, in general, express by the word Rectitude, Mr Smith gives the name of Propriety; and he begins his theory with inquiring in what it consists, and how we are led to form the idea of it. The leading principles of his doctrine on this subject are comprehended in the following propositions. 1. It is from our own experience alone, that we can form any idea of what passes in the mind of another person on any particular occasion; and the only way in which we can form this idea, is by supposing ourselves in the same circumstances with him, and conceiving how we should be affected if we were so situated. It is impossible for us, however, to conceive ourselves placed in any situation, whether agreeable or otherwise, without feeling an effect of the same kind with what would be produced by the situation itself; and of consequence the attention we give at any time to the circumstances of our neighbour, must affect us somewhat in the same manner, although by no means in the same degree, as if these circumstances were our own. That this imaginary change of place with other men, is the real source of the interest we take in their fortunes, Mr Smith attempts to prove by various instances. When we see a stroke aimed, and just ready to fall upon the leg or arm of another person, we naturally shrink and draw back our own leg or our own arm; and when it does fall, we feel it in some measure, and are hurt by it as well as the sufferer. The mob, when they are gazing at a dancer on the slackrope, naturally writhe and twist and balance their own bodies, as they see him do, and as they feel that they themselves must do if in his situation.5 The same thing takes place, according to Mr Smith, in every case in which our attention is turned to the condition of our neighbour. Whatever is the passion which arises from any object in the person principally concerned, an analogous emotion springs up, at the thought of his situation, in the breast of every attentive spectator. In every passion of which the mind of man is susceptible, the emotions of the bystander always correspond to what, by bringing the case home to himself, he imagines should be the sentiments of the sufferer.6
25

To this principle of our nature which leads us to enter into the situations of other men, and to partake with them in the passions which these situations have a tendency to excite, Mr Smith gives the name of sympathy or fellowfeeling, which two words he employs as synonymous. Upon some occasions, he acknowledges, that sympathy arises merely from the view of a certain emotion in another person; but in general it arises, not so much from the view of the emotion, as from that of the situation which excites it. 2. A sympathy or fellowfeeling between different persons is always agreeable to both. When I am in a situation which excites any passion, it is pleasant to me to know, that the spectators of my situation enter with me into all its various circumstances, and are affected with them in the same manner as I am myself. On the other hand, it is pleasant to the spectator to observe this correspondence of his emotions with mine. 3. When the spectator of another mans situation, upon bringing home to himself all its various circumstances, feels himself affected in the same manner with the person principally concerned, he approves of the affection or passion of this person as just and proper, and suitable to its object. The exceptions which occur to this observation are, according to Mr Smith, only apparent. A stranger, for example,7 passes by us in the street with all the marks of the deepest afiction: and we are immediately told, that he has just received the news of the death of his father. It is impossible that, in this case, we should not approve of his grief; yet it may often happen, without any defect of humanity on our part, that, so far from entering into the violence of his sorrow, we should scarce conceive the rst movements of concern upon his account.8 We have learned, however, from experience, that such a misfortune naturally excites such a degree of sorrow; and we know, that if we took time to examine his situation fully, and in all its parts, we should, without doubt, most sincerely sympathize with him. It is upon the consciousness of this conditional sympathy that our approbation of his sorrow is founded, even in those cases in which that sympathy does not actually take place; and the general rules derived from our preceding experience of what our sentiments would commonly correspond with, correct upon this, as upon many other occasions, the impropriety of our present emotions.9 By the propriety therefore of any affection or passion exhibited by another person, is to be understood its suitableness to the object which excites it. Of this suitableness I can judge only from the coincidence of the affection with that which I feel, when I conceive myself in the same circumstances; and the perception of this coincidence is the foundation of the sentiment of moral approbation. 4. Although, when we attend to the situation of another person, and conceive ourselves to be placed in his circumstances, an emotion of the same kind with that which he feels naturally arises in our own mind, yet this sympathetic emotion bears but a very small proportion, in point of degree, to what is felt by the person principally concerned. In order, therefore, to obtain the pleasure of mutual sympathy, nature teaches the spectator to strive, as much as he can, to raise his emotion to a level with that which the object would really produce: and, on the other hand, she teaches the person whose passion this object has excited, to bring it down, as much as he can, to a level with that of the spectator.
26

5. Upon these two different efforts are founded two different sets of virtues. Upon the effort of the spectator to enter into the situation of the person principally concerned, and to raise his sympathetic emotions to a level with the emotions of the actor, are founded the gentle, the amiable virtues; the virtues of candid condescension and indulgent humanity. Upon the effort of the person principally concerned to lower his own emotions, so as to correspond as nearly as possible with those of the spectator, are founded the great, the awful, and respectable virtues; the virtues of selfdenial, of selfgovernment, of that command of the passions, which subjects all the movements of our nature to what our own dignity and honour, and the propriety of our own conduct, require. As a farther illustration of the foregoing doctrine, Mr Smith considers particularly the degrees of the different passions which are consistent with propriety, and endeavours to shew, that, in every case, it is decent or indecent to express a passion strongly, according as mankind are disposed, or not disposed to sympathize with it. It is unbecoming, for example, to express strongly any of those passions which arise from a certain condition of the body; because other men, who are not in the same condition, cannot be expected to sympathize with them. It is unbecoming to cry out with bodily pain; because the sympathy felt by the spectator bears no proportion to the acuteness of what is felt by the sufferer. The case is somewhat similar with those passions which take their origin from a particular turn or habit of the imagination. In the case of the unsocial passions of hatred and resentment, the sympathy of the spectator is divided between the person who feels the passion, and the person who is the object of it. We are concerned for both, and our fear for what the one may suffer damps our resentment for what the other has suffered.10 Hence the imperfect degree in which we sympathize with such passions; and the propriety, when we are under their inuence, of moderating their expression to a much greater degree than is required in the case of any other emotions. The reverse of this takes place with respect to all the social and benevolent affections. The sympathy of the spectator with the person who feels them, coincides with his concern for the person who is the object of them. It is this redoubled sympathy which renders these affections so peculiarly becoming and agreeable. The selsh emotions of grief and joy, when they are conceived on account of our own private good or bad fortune, hold a sort of middle place between our social and our unsocial passions. They are never so graceful as the one set, nor so odious as the other. Even when excessive, they are never so disagreeable as excessive resentment; because no opposite sympathy can ever interest us against them: and when most suitable to their objects, they are never so agreeable as impartial humanity and just benevolence; because no double sympathy can ever interest us for them. After these general speculations concerning the propriety of actions, Mr Smith examines how far the judgments of mankind concerning it are liable to be inuenced, in particular cases, by the prosperous or the adverse circumstances of the agent. The scope of his reasoning on this subject is directed to shew (in opposition to the common opinion), that when there is no envy in the case, our propensity to sympathize with joy is much stronger than our propensity to sympathize with sorrow; and, of consequence, that it is more easy to obtain the approbation of mankind in pros27

perity than in adversity. From the same principle he traces the origin of ambition, or of the desire of rank and preeminence; the great object of which passion is, to attain that situation which sets a man most in the view of general sympathy and attention, and gives him an easy empire over the affections of others. Having nished the analysis of our sense of propriety and of impropriety, Mr Smith proceeds to consider our sense of merit and demerit; which he thinks has also a reference, in the rst instance, not to our own characters, but to the characters of our neighbours. In explaining the origin of this part of our moral constitution, he avails himself of the same principle of sympathy, into which he resolves the sentiment of moral approbation. The words propriety and impropriety, when applied to an affection of the mind, are used in this theory (as has been already observed) to express the suitableness or unsuitableness of the affection to its exciting cause. The words merit and demerit have always a reference (according to Mr Smith) to the effect which the affection tends to produce. When the tendency of an affection is benecial, the agent appears to us a proper object of reward; when it is hurtful, he appears the proper object of punishment. The principles in our nature which most directly prompt us to reward and to punish, are gratitude and resentment. To say of a person, therefore, that he is deserving of reward or of punishment, is to say, in other words, that he is a proper object of gratitude or of resentment; or, which amounts to the same thing, that he is to some person or persons the object of a gratitude or of a resentment, which every reasonable man is ready to adopt and sympathize with. It is however very necessary to observe, that we do not thoroughly sympathize with the gratitude of one man towards another, merely because this other has been the cause of his good fortune, unless he has been the cause of it from motives which we entirely go along with. Our sense, therefore, of the good desert of an action, is a compounded sentiment, made up of an indirect sympathy with the person to whom the action is benecial, and of a direct sympathy with the affections and motives of the agent.The same remark applies, mutatis mutandis, to our sense of demerit, or of illdesert. From these principles, it is inferred, that the only actions which appear to us deserving of reward, are actions of a benecial tendency, proceeding from proper motives; the only actions which seem to deserve punishment, are actions of a hurtful tendency, proceeding from improper motives. A mere want of benecence exposes to no punishment; because the mere want of benecence tends to do no real positive evil. A man, on the other hand, who is barely innocent, and contents himself with observing strictly the laws of justice with respect to others, can merit only, that his neighbours, in their turn, should observe religiously the same laws with respect to him. These observations lead Mr Smith to anticipate a little the subject of the second great division of his work, by a short inquiry into the origin of our sense of justice, as applicable to our own conduct; and also of our sentiments of remorse, and of good desert. The origin of our sense of justice, as well as of all our other moral sentiments, he accounts for by means of the principle of sympathy. When I attend only to the feelings of my own breast,
28

my own happiness appears to me of far greater consequence than that of all the world besides. But I am conscious, that, in this excessive preference, other men cannot possibly sympathize with me, and that to them I appear only one of the crowd, in whom they are no more interested than in any other individual. If I wish, therefore, to secure their sympathy and approbation (which, according to Mr Smith, are the objects of the strongest desire of my nature), it is necessary for me to regard my happiness, not in that light in which it appears to myself, but in that light in which it appears to mankind in general. If an unprovoked injury is offered to me, I know that society will sympathize with my resentment; but if I injure the interests of another, who never injured me, merely because they stand in the way of my own, I perceive evidently, that society will sympathize with his resentment, and that I shall become the object of general indignation. When, upon any occasion, I am led by the violence of passion to overlook these considerations, and, in the case of a competition of interests, to act according to my own feelings, and not according to those of impartial spectators, I never fail to incur the punishment of remorse. When my passion is gratied, and I begin to reect coolly on my conduct, I can no longer enter into the motives from which it proceeded; it appears as improper to me as to the rest of the world; I lament the effects it has produced; I pity the unhappy sufferer whom I have injured; and I feel myself a just object of indignation to mankind. Such, says Mr Smith, is the nature of that sentiment which is properly called remorse.11 It is made up of shame from the sense of the impropriety of past conduct; of grief for the effects of it; of pity for those who suffer by it; and of the dread and terror of punishment from the consciousness of the justly provoked resentment of all rational creatures.12 The opposite behaviour of him who, from proper motives, has performed a generous action, inspires, in a similar manner, the opposite sentiment of conscious merit, or of deserved reward. The foregoing observations contain a general summary of Mr Smiths principles with respect to the origin of our moral sentiments, in so far at least as they relate to the conduct of others. He acknowledges, at the same time, that the sentiments of which we are conscious, on particular occasions, do not always coincide with these principles; and that they are frequently modied by other considerations, very different from the propriety or impropriety of the affections of the agent, and also from the benecial or hurtful tendency of these affections. The good or the bad consequences which accidently follow from an action, and which, as they do not depend on the agent, ought undoubtedly, in point of justice, to have no inuence on our opinion, either of the propriety or the merit of his conduct, scarcely ever fail to inuence considerably our judgment with respect to both; by leading us to form a good or a bad opinion of the prudence with which the action was performed, and by animating our sense of the merit or demerit of his design. These facts, however, do not furnish any objections which are peculiarly applicable to Mr Smiths theory; for whatever hypothesis we may adopt with respect to the origin of our moral perceptions, all men must acknowledge, that, in so far as the prosperous or the unprosperous event of an action depends on fortune or on accident, it ought neither to increase nor to diminish our moral approbation or disapprobation of the agent. And accordingly it has, in all ages of the world, been the complaint of moralists, that the actual sentiments of mankind should so often be in opposi-

29

tion to this equitable and indisputable maxim. In examining, therefore, this irregularity of our moral sentiments, Mr Smith is to be considered, not as obviating an objection peculiar to his own system, but as removing a difculty which is equally connected with every theory on the subject which has ever been proposed. So far as I know, he is the rst philosopher who has been fully aware of the importance of the difculty, and he has indeed treated it with great ability and success. The explanation which he gives of it is not warped in the least by any peculiarity in his own scheme; and, I must own, it appears to me to be the most solid and valuable improvement he has made in this branch of science. It is impossible to give any abstract of it in a sketch of this kind; and therefore I must content myself with remarking, that it consists of three parts. The rst explains the causes of this irregularity of sentiment; the second, the extent of its inuence; and the third, the important purposes to which it is subservient. His remarks on the last of these heads are more particularly ingenious and pleasing; as their object is to shew, in opposition to what we should be disposed at rst to apprehend, that when nature implanted the seeds of this irregularity in the human breast, her leading intention was, to promote the happiness and perfection of the species. The remaining part of Mr Smiths theory is employed in shewing, in what manner our sense of duty comes to be formed, in consequence of an application to ourselves of the judgments we have previously passed on the conduct of others. In entering upon this inquiry, which is undoubtedly the most important in the work, and for which the foregoing speculations are, according to Mr Smiths theory, a necessary preparation, he begins with stating the fact concerning our consciousness of merited praise or blame; and it must be owned, that the rst aspect of the fact, as he himself states it, appears not very favourable to his principles. That the great object of a wise and virtuous man is not to act in such a manner as to obtain the actual approbation of those around him, but to act so as to render himself the just and proper object of their approbation, and that his satisfaction with his own conduct depends much more on the consciousness of deserving this approbation than from that of really enjoying it, he candidly acknowledges; but still he insists, that although this may seem, at rst view, to intimate the existence of some moral faculty which is not borrowed from without, our moral sentiments have always some secret reference, either to what are, or to what upon a certain condition would be, or to what we imagine ought to be, the sentiments of others; and that if it were possible, that a human creature could grow up to manhood without any communication with his own species, he could no more think of his own character, or of the propriety or demerit of his own sentiments and conduct, than of the beauty or deformity of his own face. There is indeed a tribunal within the breast, which is the supreme arbiter of all our actions, and which often morties us amidst the applause, and supports us under the censure of the world; yet still, he contends, that if we inquire into the origin of its institution, we shall nd, that its jurisdiction is, in a great measure, derived from the authority of that very tribunal whose decisions it so often and so justly reverses. When we rst come into the world, we, for some time, fondly pursue the impossible project of gaining the goodwill and approbation of everybody. We soon however nd, that this universal

30

approbation is unattainable; that the most equitable conduct must frequently thwart the interests or the inclinations of particular persons, who will seldom have candour enough to enter into the propriety of our motives, or to see that this conduct, how disagreeable soever to them, is perfectly suitable to our situation. In order to defend ourselves from such partial judgments, we soon learn to set 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, who has no particular relation, either to ourselves, or to those whose interests are affected by our conduct; and we study to act in such a manner as to obtain the approbation of this supposed impartial spectator. It is only by consulting him that we can see whatever relates to ourselves in its proper shape and dimensions. There are two different occasions, on which we examine our own 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, after we have acted. In both cases, our views are very apt to be partial. When we are about to act, the eagerness of passion seldom allows us to consider what we are doing with the candour of an indifferent person. When the action is over, and the passions which prompted it have subsided, although we can undoubtedly enter into the sentiments of the indifferent spectator much more coolly than before, yet it is so disagreeable to us to think ill of ourselves, that we often purposely turn away our view from those circumstances which might render our judgment unfavourable.Hence that selfdeceit which is the source of half the disorders of human life. In order to guard ourselves against its delusions, nature leads us to form insensibly, by our continual observations upon the conduct of others, certain general rules concerning what is t and proper either to be done or avoided. Some of their actions shock all our natural sentiments; and when we observe other people affected in the same manner with ourselves, we are conrmed in the belief, that our disapprobation was just. We naturally therefore lay it down as a general rule, that all such actions are to be avoided, as tending to render us odious, contemptible, or punishable; and we endeavour, by habitual reection, to x this general rule in our minds, in order to correct the misrepresentations of selflove, if we should ever be called on to act in similar circumstances. The man of furious resentment, if he were to listen to the dictates of that passion, would perhaps regard the death of his enemy as but a small compensation for a triing wrong. But his observations on the conduct of others have taught him how horrible such sanguinary revenges are; and he has impressed it on his mind as an invariable rule, to abstain from them upon all occasions. This rule preserves its authority with him, checks the impetuosity of his passion, and corrects the partial views which selflove suggests; although, if this had been the rst time in which he considered such an action, he would undoubtedly have determined it to be just and proper, and what every impartial spectator would approve of.A regard to such general rules of morality constitutes, according to Mr Smith, what is properly called the sense of duty. I before hinted, that Mr Smith does not reject entirely from his system that principle of utility, of which the perception in any action or character constitutes, according to Mr Hume, the sentiment of moral approbation. That no qualities of the mind are approved of as virtues, but such as are useful or agreeable, either to the person himself or to others, he admits to be a proposition
31

that holds universally; and he also admits, that the sentiment of approbation with which we regard virtue, is enlivened by the perception of this utility, or, as he explains the fact, it is enlivened by our sympathy with the happiness of those to whom the utility extends: But still he insists, that it is not the view of this utility which is either the rst or principal source of moral approbation. To sum up the whole of his doctrine in a few words. When we approve of any character or action, the sentiments which we feel are13 derived from four different sources.14 First, we sympathize with the motives of the agent; secondly, we enter into the gratitude of those who receive the benet of his actions; thirdly, we observe that his conduct has been agreeable to the general rules by which those two sympathies generally act; and, lastly,15 when we consider such actions as making a part of a system of behaviour which tends to promote the happiness either of the individual or of society,16 they appear to derive a beauty from this utility, not unlike that which we ascribe to any wellcontrived machine.17 These different sentiments, he thinks, exhaust completely, in every instance that can be supposed, the compounded sentiment of moral approbation. After deducting, says he, in any one particular case, all that must be acknowledged to proceed from some one or other of these four principles, I should be glad to know what remains; and I shall freely allow this overplus to be ascribed to a moral sense, or to any other peculiar faculty, provided any body will ascertain precisely what this overplus is.18 Mr Smiths opinion concerning the nature of virtue, is involved in his theory concerning the principle of moral approbation. The idea of virtue, he thinks, always implies the idea of propriety, or of the suitableness of the affection to the object which excites it; which suitableness, according to him, can be determined in no other way than by the sympathy of impartial spectators with the motives of the agent. But still he apprehends, that this description of virtue is incomplete; for although in every virtuous action propriety is an essential ingredient, it is not always the sole ingredient. Benecent actions have in them another quality, by which they appear, not only to deserve approbation, but recompense, and excite a superior degree of esteem, arising from a double sympathy with the motives of the agent, and the gratitude of those who are the objects of his affection. In this respect, benecence appears to him to be distinguished from the inferior virtues of prudence, vigilance, circumspection, temperance, constancy, rmness, which are always regarded with approbation, but which confer no merit. This distinction, he apprehends, has not been sufciently attended to by moralists; the principles of some affording no explanation of the approbation we bestow on the inferior virtues; and those of others accounting as imperfectly for the peculiar excellency which the supreme virtue of benecence is acknowledged to possess.* Such are the outlines of Mr Smiths Theory of Moral Sentiments; a work which, whatever opinion we may entertain of the justness of its conclusions, must be allowed by all to be a singular effort of invention, ingenuity, and subtilty. For my own part I must confess, that it does not coincide with my notions concerning the foundation of Morals: but I am convinced, at the same time, that it contains a large mixture of important truth, and that, although the author has sometimes been misled by too great a desire of generalizing his principles, he has had the merit of directing the attention of philosophers to a view of human nature which had formerly in a great measure escaped their notice. Of the great proportion of just and sound reasoning which the

32

theory involves its striking plausibility is a sufcient proof; for, as the author himself has remarked, no system in morals can well gain our assent, if it does not border, in some respects, upon the truth. A system of natural philosophy (he observes) may appear very plausible, and be for a long time very generally received in the world, and yet have no foundation in nature; but the author who should assign as the cause of any natural sentiment, some principle which neither had any connection with it, nor resembled any other principle which had some connection, would appear absurd and ridiculous to the most injudicious and inexperienced reader.19 The merit, however, of Mr Smiths performance does not rest here. No work, undoubtedly, can be mentioned, ancient or modern, which exhibits so complete a view of those facts with respect to our moral perceptions, which it is one great object of this branch of science to refer to their general laws; and upon this account, it well deserves the careful study of all whose taste leads them to prosecute similar inquiries. These facts are indeed frequently expressed in a language which involves the authors peculiar theories: But they are always presented in the most happy and beautiful lights; and it is easy for an attentive reader, by stripping them of hypothetical terms, to state them to himself with that logical precision, which, in such very difcult disquisitions, can alone conduct us with certainty to the truth. It is proper to observe farther, that with the theoretical doctrines of the book, there are everywhere interwoven, with singular taste and address, the purest and most elevated maxims concerning the practical conduct of life; and that it abounds throughout with interesting and instructive delineations of characters and manners. A considerable part of it too is employed in collateral inquiries, which, upon every hypothesis that can be formed concerning the foundation of morals, are of equal importance. Of this kind is the speculation formerly mentioned, with respect to the inuence of fortune on our moral sentiments, and another speculation, no less valuable, with respect to the inuence of custom and fashion on the same part of our constitution. The style in which Mr Smith has conveyed the fundamental principles on which his theory rests, does not seem to me to be so perfectly suited to the subject as that which he employs on most other occasions. In communicating ideas which are extremely abstract and subtile, and about which it is hardly possible to reason correctly, without the scrupulous use of appropriated terms, he sometimes presents to us a choice of words, by no means strictly synonymous, so as to divert the attention from a precise and steady conception of his proposition: and a similar effect is, in other instances, produced by that diversity of forms which, in the course of his copious and seducing composition, the same truth insensibly assumes. When the subject of his work leads him to address the imagination and the heart, the variety and felicity of his illustrations; the richness and uency of his eloquence; and the skill with which he wins the attention and commands the passions of his readers, leave him, among our English moralists, without a rival. The Dissertation on the Origin of Languages, which now forms a part of the same volume with the Theory of Moral Sentiments, was, I believe, rst annexed to the second edition of that work.20 It is an essay of great ingenuity, and on which the author himself set a high value; but, in a general review of his publications, it deserves our attention less, on account of the opinions it contains, than as a specimen of a particular sort of inquiry, which, so far as I know, is entirely of

33

modern origin, and which seems, in a peculiar degree, to have interested Mr Smiths curiosity.* Something very similar to it may be traced in all his different works, whether moral, political, or literary; and on all these subjects he has exemplied it with the happiest success. When, in such a period of society as that in which we live, we compare our intellectual acquirements, our opinions, manners, and institutions, with those which prevail among rude tribes, it cannot fail to occur to us as an interesting question, by what gradual steps the transition has been made from the rst simple efforts of uncultivated nature, to a state of things so wonderfully articial and complicated. Whence has arisen that systematical beauty which we admire in the structure of a cultivated language; that analogy which runs through the emixturee of languages spoken by the most remote and unconnected nations; and those peculiarities by which they are all distinguished from each other? Whence the origin of the different sciences and of the different arts; and by what chain has the mind been led from their rst rudiments to their last and most rened improvements? Whence the astonishing fabric of the political union; the fundamental principles which are common to all governments; and the different forms which civilized society has assumed in different ages of the world? On most of these subjects very little information is to be expected from history; for long before that stage of society when men begin to think of recording their transactions, many of the most important steps of their progress have been made. A few insulated facts may perhaps be collected from the casual observations of travellers, who have viewed the arrangements of rude nations; but nothing, it is evident, can be obtained in this way, which approaches to a regular and connected detail of human improvement. In this want of direct evidence, we are under a necessity of supplying the place of fact by conjecture; and when we are unable to ascertain how men have actually conducted themselves upon particular occasions, of considering in what manner they are likely to have proceeded, from the principles of their nature, and the circumstances of their external situation. In such inquiries, the detached facts which travels and voyages afford us, may frequently serve as landmarks to our speculations; and sometimes our conclusions a priori, may tend to conrm the credibility of facts, which, on a supercial view, appeared to be doubtful or incredible. Nor are such theoretical views of human affairs subservient merely to the gratication of curiosity. In examining the history of mankind, as well as in examining the phenomena of the material world, when we cannot trace the process by which an event has been produced, it is often of importance to be able to show how it may have been produced by natural causes. Thus, in the instance which has suggested these remarks, although it is impossible to determine with certainty what the steps were by which any particular language was formed, yet if we can shew, from the known principles of human nature, how all its various parts might gradually have arisen, the mind is not only to a certain degree satised, but a check is given to that indolent philosophy, which refers to a miracle, whatever appearances, both in the natural and moral worlds, it is unable to explain. To this species of philosophical investigation, which has no appropriated name in our language, I shall take the liberty of giving the title of Theoretical or Conjectural History; an expression

34

which coincides pretty nearly in its meaning with that of Natural History, as employed by Mr Hume* , and with what some French writers have called Histoire Raisonne. The mathematical sciences, both pure and mixed, afford, in many of their branches, very favourable subjects for theoretical history; and a very competent judge, the late M. dAlembert, has recommended this arrangement of their elementary principles, which is founded on the natural succession of inventions and discoveries, as the best adapted for interesting the curiosity and exercising the genius of students. The same author points out as a model a passage in Montuclas History of Mathematics,21 where an attempt is made to exhibit the gradual progress of philosophical speculation, from the rst conclusions suggested by a general survey of the heavens, to the doctrines of Copernicus. It is somewhat remarkable, that a theoretical history of this very science (in which we have, perhaps, a better opportunity than in any other instance whatever, of comparing the natural advances of the mind with the actual succession of hypothetical systems) was one of Mr Smiths earliest compositions, and is one of the very small number of his manuscripts which he did not destroy before his death. I already hinted, that inquiries perfectly analogous to these may be applied to the modes of government, and to the municipal institutions which have obtained among different nations. It is but lately, however, that these important subjects have been considered in this point of view; the greater part of politicians before the time of Montesquieu, having contented themselves with an historical statement of facts, and with a vague reference of laws to the wisdom of particular legislators, or to accidental circumstances, which it is now impossible to ascertain.22 Montesquieu, on the contrary, considered laws as originating chiey from the circumstances of society; and attempted to account, from the changes in the condition of mankind, which take place in the different stages of their progress, for the corresponding alterations which their institutions undergo.23 It is thus that, in his occasional elucidations of the Roman jurisprudence, instead of bewildering himself among the erudition of scholiasts and of antiquaries, we frequently nd him borrowing his lights from the most remote and unconnected quarters of the globe, and combining the casual observations of illiterate travellers and navigators, into a philosophical commentary on the history of law and of manners. The advances made in this line of inquiry since Montesquieus time have been great.24 Lord Kames, in his Historical Law Tracts,25 has given some excellent specimens of it, particularly in his Essays on the History of Property and of Criminal Law, and many ingenious speculations of the same kind occur in the works of Mr Millar.26 In Mr Smiths writings, whatever be the nature of his subject, he seldom misses an opportunity of indulging his curiosity, in tracing from the principles of human nature, or from the circumstances of society, the origin of the opinions and the institutions which he describes. I formerly mentioned a fragment concerning the History of Astronomy which he has left for publication; and I have heard him say more than once, that he had projected, in the earlier part of his life, a history of the other sciences on the same plan. In his Wealth of Nations, various disquisitions are introduced which have a like object in view, particularly the theoretical delineation he has given of the natural progress of opulence in a country; and his investigation of the causes
35

which have inverted this order in the different countries of modern Europe.27 His lectures on jurisprudence seem, from the account of them formerly given, to have abounded in such inquiries. I am informed by the same gentleman who favoured me with the account of Mr Smiths lectures at Glasgow, that he had heard him sometimes hint an intention of writing a treatise upon the Greek and Roman republics. And after all that has been published on that subject, I am convinced (says he), that the observations of Mr Smith would have suggested many new and important views concerning the internal and domestic circumstances of those nations, which would have displayed their several systems of policy, in a light much less articial than that in which they have hitherto appeared. The same turn of thinking was frequently, in his social hours, applied to more familiar subjects; and the fanciful theories which, without the least affectation of ingenuity, he was continually starting upon all the common topics of discourse, gave to his conversation a novelty and variety that were quite inexhaustible. Hence too the minuteness and accuracy of his knowledge on many triing articles, which, in the course of his speculations, he had been led to consider from some new and interesting point of view; and of which his lively and circumstantial descriptions amused his friends the more, that he seemed to be habitually inattentive, in so remarkable a degree, to what was passing around him. I have been led into these remarks by the Dissertation on the Formation of Languages, which exhibits a very beautiful specimen of theoretical history, applied to a subject equally curious and difcult. The analogy between the train of thinking from which it has taken its rise, and that which has suggested a variety of his other disquisitions, will, I hope, be a sufcient apology for the length of this digression; more particularly, as it will enable me to simplify the account which I am to give afterwards, of his inquiries concerning political economy. I shall only observe farther on this head, that when different theoretical histories are proposed by different writers, of the progress of the human mind in any one line of exertion, these theories are not always to be understood as standing in opposition to each other. If the progress delineated in all of them be plausible, it is possible at least, that they may all have been realized; for human affairs never exhibit, in any two instances, a perfect uniformity. But whether they have been realized or no, is often a question of little consequence. In most cases, it is of more importance to ascertain the progress that is most simple, than the progress that is most agreeable to fact; for, paradoxical as the proposition may appear, it is certainly true, that the real progress is not always the most natural. It may have been determined by particular accidents, which are not likely again to occur, and which cannot be considered as forming any part of that general provision which nature has made for the improvement of the race. In order to make some amends for the length (I am afraid I may add for the tediousness) of this section, I shall subjoin to it an original letter of Mr Humes addressed to Mr Smith, soon after the publication of his Theory. It is strongly marked with that easy and affectionate pleasantry which distinguished Mr Humes epistolary correspondence, and is entitled to a place in this Memoir, on account of its connection with an important event of Mr Smiths life, which soon
36

after removed him into a new scene, and inuenced, to a considerable degree, the subsequent course of his studies. The letter is dated from London, 12th April 1759.28 I give you thanks for the agreeable present of your Theory. Wedderburn and I made presents of our copies to such of our acquaintances as we thought good judges, and proper to spread the reputation of the book. I sent one to the Duke of Argyll, to Lord Lyttleton, Horace Walpole, Soame Jennyns, and Burke, an Irish gentleman, who wrote lately a very pretty treatise on the Sublime. Millar desired my permission to send one in your name to Dr Warburton. I have delayed writing to you till I could tell you something of the success of the book, and could prognosticate with some probability, whether it should be nally damned to oblivion, or should be registered in the temple of immortality. Though it has been published only a few weeks, I think there appear already such strong symptoms, that I can almost venture to foretel 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 ofce 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 should fail. Ferguson has very much polished and improved his treatise on Renement* , 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 uphill 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 nding 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 Kamess Law Tracts. A man might as well think of making a ne 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; though 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 ordered myself to be denied; 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 Helvetiuss book de lEsprit. 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 obliged him to strike it out. Voltaire has lately published a small work called Candide, ou lOptimisme. 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: Shew yourself a philosopher in practice as well as profession: Think on the emptiness, and rashness, and futility of the common judgments of men: How little they are regulated by reason in any subject, much more in philosophical subjects, which so far exceed the comprehension of the vulgar. Non si quid turbida Roma, Elevet, accedas: examenve improbum in illa Castiges trutina: nec te quaesiveris extra.29
37

A wise mans kingdom is his own breast; or, if he ever looks farther, it will only be to the judgment of a select few, who are free from prejudices, and capable of examining his work. Nothing indeed can be a stronger presumption of falsehood 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 duly prepared yourself for the worst by all these reections, I proceed to tell you the melancholy news, that your book has been very unfortunate; for the public seem disposed to applaud it extremely. It was looked 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 called yesterday at Millars shop in order to buy copies, and to ask questions about the author. The Bishop of Peterborough said he had passed the evening in a company where he heard it extolled above all books in the world. The Duke of Argyll 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 reaped more instruction or entertainment from it. But you may easily judge what reliance can be put on his judgment who has been engaged all his life in public business, and who never sees any faults in his friends. Millar exults and brags that twothirds 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 prot 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 would put the Duke of Buccleuch under the authors care, and would make it worth his while to accept of that charge. As soon as I heard this I called 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 could not hope, that he could offer you any terms which would tempt you to renounce your Professorship. But I missed him. Mr Townsend passes for being a little uncertain in his resolutions: so perhaps you need not build much on this sally. In recompence for so many mortifying things, which nothing but truth could have extorted from me, and which I could easily have multiplied to a greater number, I doubt not but you are so good a Christian as to return good for evil; and to atter my vanity by telling me, that all the godly in Scotland abuse me for my account of John Knox and the Reformation. I suppose you are glad to see my paper end, and that I am obliged to conclude with Your humble servant, David Hume.

38

Section III. From the Publication of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, till that of The Wealth of Nations After the publication of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Mr Smith remained four years at Glasgow, discharging his ofcial duties with unabated vigour, and with increasing reputation. During that time, the plan of his lectures underwent a considerable change. His ethical doctrines, of which he had now published so valuable a part, occupied a much smaller portion of the course than formerly: and accordingly, his attention was naturally directed to a more complete illustration of the principles of jurisprudence and of political economy. To this last subject, his thoughts appear to have been occasionally turned from a very early period of life. It is probable, that the uninterrupted friendship he had always maintained with his old companion Mr Oswald,1 had some tendency to encourage him in prosecuting this branch of his studies; and the publication of Mr Humes political discourses, in the year 1752, could not fail to conrm him in those liberal views of commercial policy which had already opened to him in the course of his own inquiries. His long residence in one of the most enlightened mercantile towns in this island, and the habits of intimacy in which he lived with the most respectable of its inhabitants, afforded him an opportunity of deriving what commercial information he stood in need of, from the best sources; and it is a circumstance no less honourable to their liberality than to his talents, that notwithstanding the reluctance so common among men of business to listen to the conclusions of mere speculation, and the direct opposition of his leading principles to all the old maxims of trade, he was able, before he quitted his situation in the university, to rank some very eminent merchants in the number of his proselytes* . Among the students who attended his lectures, and whose minds were not previously warped by prejudice, the progress of his opinions, it may be reasonably supposed, was much more rapid. It was this class of his friends accordingly that rst adopted his system with eagerness, and diffused a knowledge of its fundamental principles over this part of the kingdom. Towards the end of 1763, Mr Smith received an invitation from Mr Charles Townsend to accompany the Duke of Buccleuch on his travels; and the liberal terms in which the proposal was made to him, added to the strong desire he had felt of visiting the Continent of Europe, induced him to resign his ofce at Glasgow. With the connection which he was led to form in consequence of this change in his situation, he had reason to be satised in an uncommon degree, and he always spoke of it with pleasure and gratitude. To the public, it was not perhaps a change equally fortunate; as it interrupted that studious leisure for which nature seems to have destined him, and in which alone he could have hoped to accomplish those literary projects which had attered the ambition of his youthful genius. The alteration, however, which, from this period, took place in his habits, was not without its advantages. He had hitherto lived chiey within the walls of an university; and although to a mind like his, the observation of human nature on the smallest scale is sufcient to convey a tolerably just conception of what passes on the great theatre of the world, yet it is not to be doubted, that the variety of scenes through which he afterwards passed, must have enriched his
39

mind with many new ideas, and corrected many of those misapprehensions of life and manners which the best descriptions of them can scarcely fail to convey.But whatever were the lights that his travels afforded to him as a student of human nature, they were probably useful in a still greater degree, in enabling him to perfect that system of political economy, of which he had already delivered the principles in his lectures at Glasgow, and which it was now the leading object of his studies to prepare for the public. The coincidence between some of these principles and the distinguishing tenets of the French economists, who were at that very time in the height of their reputation, and the intimacy in which he lived with some of the leaders of that sect, could not fail to assist him in methodizing and digesting his speculations; while the valuable collection of facts, accumulated by the zealous industry of their numerous adherents, furnished him with ample materials for illustrating and conrming his theoretical conclusions. After leaving Glasgow, Mr Smith joined the Duke of Buccleuch at London early in the year 1764, and set out with him for the continent in the month of March following. At Dover they were met by Sir James Macdonald, who accompanied them to Paris, and with whom Mr Smith laid the foundation of a friendship, which he always mentioned with great sensibility, and of which he often lamented the short duration. The panegyrics with which the memory of this accomplished and amiable person has been honoured by so many distinguished characters in the different countries of Europe, are a proof how well tted his talents were to command general admiration. The esteem in which his abilities and learning were held by Mr Smith, is a testimony to his extraordinary merit of still superior value. Mr Hume, too, seems, in this instance, to have partaken of his friends enthusiasm. Were you and I together (says he in a letter to Mr Smith), we should shed tears at present for the death of poor Sir James Macdonald. We could not possibly have suffered a greater loss than in that valuable young man.2 In this rst visit to Paris, the Duke of Buccleuch and Mr Smith employed only ten or twelve days* , after which they proceeded to Thoulouse, where they xed their residence for eighteen months; and where, in addition to the pleasure of an agreeable society, Mr Smith had an opportunity of correcting and extending his information concerning the internal policy of France, by the intimacy in which he lived with some of the principal persons of the Parliament. From Thoulouse they went, by a pretty extensive tour, through the south of France to Geneva. Here they passed two months. The late Earl Stanhope, for whose learning and worth Mr Smith entertained a sincere respect, was then an inhabitant of that republic. About Christmas 1765, they returned to Paris, and remained there till October following. The society in which Mr Smith spent these ten months, may be conceived from the advantages he enjoyed, in consequence of the recommendations of Mr Hume. Turgot, Quesnai, aMorellet ,a Necker, dAlembert, Helvetius, Marmontel, Madame Riccoboni, were among the number of his acquaintances; and some of them he continued ever afterwards to reckon among his friends. From Madam bdAnville,b the respectable mother of the late excellent and much lamented Duke of clac Rochefoucauld* , he received many attentions, which he always recollected with particular gratitude.

40

It is much to be regretted, that he preserved no journal of this very interesting period of his history; and such was his aversion to write letters, that I scarcely suppose any memorial of it exists in his correspondence with his friends. The extent and accuracy of his memory, in which he was equalled by few, made it of little consequence to himself to record in writing what he heard or saw; and from his anxiety before his death to destroy all the papers in his possession, he seems to have wished, that no materials should remain for his biographers, but what were furnished by the lasting monuments of his genius, and the exemplary worth of his private life. The satisfaction he enjoyed in the conversation of Turgot may be easily imagined. Their opinions on the most essential points of political economy were the same; and they were both animated by the same zeal for the best interests of mankind. The favourite studies, too, of both, had directed their inquiries to subjects on which the understandings of the ablest and the best informed are liable to be warped, to a great degree, by prejudice and passion; and on which, of consequence, a coincidence of judgment is peculiarly gratifying. We are told by one of the biographers of Turgot, that after his retreat from the ministry, he occupied his leisure in a philosophical correspondence with some of his old friends; and, in particular, that various letters on important subjects passed between him and Mr Smith. I take notice of this anecdote chiey as a proof of the intimacy which was understood to have subsisted between them; for in other respects, the anecdote seems to me to be somewhat doubtful. It is scarcely to be supposed, that Mr Smith would destroy the letters of such a correspondent as Turgot; and still less probable, that such an intercourse was carried on between them without the knowledge of any of Mr Smiths friends. From some inquiries that have been made at Paris by a gentleman of this Society since Mr Smiths death, I have reason to believe, that no evidence of the correspondence exists among the papers of M. Turgot, and that the whole story has taken its rise from a report suggested by the knowledge of their former intimacy. This circumstance I think it of importance to mention, because a good deal of curiosity has been excited by the passage in question, with respect to the fate of the supposed letters.3 Mr Smith was also well known to M. Quesnai, the profound and original author of the Economical Table; a man (according to Mr Smiths account of him) of the greatest modesty and simplicity;4 and whose system of political economy he has pronounced, with all its imperfections, to be the nearest approximation to the truth that has yet been published on the principles of that very important science.5 If he had not been prevented by Quesnais death, Mr Smith had once an intention (as he told me himself) to have inscribed to him his Wealth of Nations. It was not, however, merely the distinguished men who about this period xed so splendid an aera in the literary history of France, that excited Mr Smiths curiosity while he remained in Paris. His acquaintance with the polite literature both of ancient and modern times was extensive; and amidst his various other occupations, he had never neglected to cultivate a taste for the ne arts;less, it is probable, with a view to the peculiar enjoyments they convey, (though he was by no means without sensibility to their beauties,) than on account of their connection with the general principles of the human mind; to an examination of which they afford the most pleasing of all avenues. To those who speculate on this very delicate subject, a comparison of the modes of

41

taste that prevail among different nations, affords a valuable collection of facts; and Mr Smith, who was always disposed to ascribe to custom and fashion their full share in regulating the opinions of mankind with respect to beauty, may naturally be supposed to have availed himself of every opportunity which a foreign country afforded him of illustrating his former theories. Some of his peculiar notions, too, with respect to the imitative arts, seem to have been much conrmed by his observations while abroad. In accounting for the pleasure we receive from these arts, it had early occurred to him as a fundamental principle, that a very great part of it arises from the difculty of the imitation;6 a principle which was probably suggested to him by that of the difcult surmonte, by which some French critics had attempted to explain the effect of versication and of rhyme* . This principle Mr Smith pushed to the greatest possible length, and referred to it, with singular ingenuity, a great variety of phenomena in all the different ne arts. It led him, however, to some conclusions, which appear, at rst view at least, not a little paradoxical; and I cannot help thinking, that it warped his judgment in many of the opinions which he was accustomed to give on the subject of poetry. The principles of dramatic composition had more particularly attracted his attention; and the history of the theatre, both in ancient and modern times, had furnished him with some of the most remarkable facts on which his theory of the imitative arts was founded. From this theory it seemed to follow as a consequence, that the same circumstances which, in tragedy, give to blank verse an advantage over prose, should give to rhyme an advantage over blank verse; and Mr Smith had always inclined to that opinion.7 Nay, he had gone so far as to extend the same doctrine to comedy; and to regret that those excellent pictures of life and manners which the English stage affords, had not been executed after the model of the French school. The admiration with which he regarded the great dramatic authors of France tended to conrm him in these opinions; and this admiration (resulting originally from the general character of his taste, which delighted more to remark that pliancy of genius which accommodates itself to established rules, than to wonder at the bolder ights of an undisciplined imagination) was increased to a great degree, when he saw the beauties that had struck him in the closet, heightened by the utmost perfection of theatrical exhibition. In the last years of his life, he sometimes amused himself, at a leisure hour, in supporting his theoretical conclusions on these subjects, by the facts which his subsequent studies and observations had suggested; and he intended, if he had lived, to have prepared the result of these labours for the press. Of this work he has left for publication a short fragment;d but he had not proceeded far enough to apply his doctrine to versication and to the theatre. As his notions, however, with respect to these were a favourite topic of his conversation, and were intimately connected with his general principles of criticism, it would have been improper to pass them over in this sketch of his life; and I even thought it proper to detail them at greater length than the comparative importance of the subject would have justied, if he had carried his plans into execution. Whether his love of system, added to his partiality for the French drama, may not have led him, in this instance, to generalize a little too much his conclusions, and to overlook some peculiarities in the language and versication of that country, I shall not take upon me to determine.

42

In October 1766, the Duke of Buccleuch returned to London. His Grace, to whom I am indebted for several particulars in the foregoing narrative, will, I hope, forgive the liberty I take in transcribing one paragraph in his own words: In October 1766, we returned to London, after having spent near three years together, without the slightest disagreement or coolness;on my part, with every advantage that could be expected from the society of such a man. We continued to live in friendship till the hour of his death; and I shall always remain with the impression of having lost a friend whom I loved and respected, not only for his great talents, but for every private virtue. The retirement in which Mr Smith passed his next ten years, formed a striking contrast to the unsettled mode of life he had been for some time accustomed to, but was so congenial to his natural disposition, and to his rst habits, that it was with the utmost difculty he was ever persuaded to leave it. During the whole of this period, (with the exception of a few visits to Edinburgh and London,) he remained with his mother at Kirkaldy; occupied habitually in intense study, but unbending his mind at times in the company of some of his old schoolfellows, whose sober wishes had attached them to the place of their birth. In the society of such men, Mr Smith delighted; and to them he was endeared, not only by his simple and unassuming manners, but by the perfect knowledge they all possessed of those domestic virtues which had distinguished him from his infancy. Mr Hume, who (as he tells us himself) considered a town as the true scene for a man of letters,8 made many attempts to seduce him from his retirement. In a letter, dated in 1772, he urges him to pass some time with him in Edinburgh. I shall not take any excuse from your state of health, which I suppose only a subterfuge 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.9 In another letter, dated in 1769, from his house in Jamess Court, (which commanded a prospect of the Frith of Forth, and of the opposite coast of Fife,) I am glad (says he) to have come within sight of you; but as I would also be within speaking terms of you, I wish we could concert measures for that purpose. I am mortally sick at sea, and regard with horror and a kind of hydrophobia the great gulf that lies between us. I am also tired 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 would make me some reasonable proposal for that purpose. There is no habitation in the island of Inchkeith, otherwise I should 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 hope to nd a letter from you, containing a bold acceptance of this deance.10

43

At length (in the beginning of the year 1776) Mr Smith accounted to the world for his long retreat, by the publication of his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. A letter of congratulation on this event, from Mr Hume, is now before me. It is dated 1st April 1776 (about six months before Mr Humes death), and discovers an amiable solicitude about his friends literary fame.11 Euge! Belle! Dear Mr Smith: I am much pleased with your performance, and the perusal of it has taken me from a state of great anxiety. It was a work of so much expectation, by yourself, by your friends, and by the public, that I trembled for its appearance; but am now much relieved. Not but that the reading of it necessarily requires so much attention, and the public is disposed to give so little, that I shall still doubt for some time of its being at rst very popular. But it has depth and solidity and acuteness, and is so much illustrated by curious facts, that it must at last take the public attention. It is probably much improved by your last abode in London. If you were here at my reside, I should dispute some of your principles. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . But these, and a hundred other points, are t only to be discussed in conversation.12 I hope it will be soon; for I am in a very bad state of health, and cannot afford a long delay. Of a book which is now so universally known as The Wealth of Nations, it might be considered perhaps as superuous to give a particular analysis; and, at any rate, the limits of this essay make it impossible for me to attempt it at present. A few remarks, however, on the object and tendency of the work, may, I hope, be introduced without impropriety. The history of a philosophers life can contain little more than the history of his speculations; and in the case of such an author as Mr Smith, whose studies were systematically directed from his youth to subjects of the last importance to human happiness, a review of his writings, while it serves to illustrate the peculiarities of his genius, affords the most faithful picture of his character as a man. SECTION IV. Of the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations* An historical view of the different forms under which human affairs have appeared in different ages and nations,1 naturally suggests the question, Whether the experience of former times may not now furnish some general principles to enlighten and direct the policy of future legislators? The discussion, however, to which this question leads, is of singular difculty: as it requires an accurate analysis of by far the most complicated class of phenomena that can possibly engage our attention, those which result from the intricate and often the imperceptible mechanism of political society;a subject of observation which seems, at rst view, so little commensurate to our faculties, that it has been generally regarded with the same passive emotions of wonder and submission,2 with which, in the material world, we survey the effects produced by the mysterious and uncontroulable operation of physical causes. It is fortunate that upon this, as upon many other occasions, the difculties which had long bafed the efforts of solitary genius begin to appear less formidable to the united exertions of the race; and that in proportion as the experience and the reasonings of different individuals are brought to bear upon the same objects, and are combined in such a manner as to illustrate and to limit each other, the science of politics assumes more and more that systematical form which encourages and aids the labours of future inquirers.
44

In prosecuting the science of politics on this plan, little assistance is to be derived from the speculations of ancient philosophers, the greater part of whom, in their political inquiries, conned their attention to a comparison of the different forms of government, and to an examination of the provisions they made for perpetuating their own existence, and for extending the glory of the state. It was reserved for modern times to investigate those universal principles of justice and of expediency,3 which ought, under every form of government, to regulate the social order; and of which the object is, to make as equitable a distribution as possible, among all the different members of a community, of the advantages arising from the political union. The invention of printing was perhaps necessary to prepare the way for these researches. In those departments of literature and of science, where genius nds within itself the materials of its labours; in poetry, in pure geometry, and in some branches of moral philosophy; the ancients have not only laid the foundations on which we are to build, but have left great and nished models for our imitation. But in physics, where our progress depends on an immense collection of facts, and on a combination of the accidental lights daily struck out in the innumerable walks of observation and experiment; and in politics, where the materials of our theories are equally scattered, and are collected and arranged with still greater difculty, the means of communication afforded by the press have, in the course of two centuries, accelerated the progress of the human mind, far beyond what the most sanguine hopes of our predecessors could have imagined. The progress already made in this science, inconsiderable as it is in comparison of what may be yet expected, has been sufcient to shew, that the happiness of mankind depends, not on the share which the people possesses, directly or indirectly, in the enactment of laws, but on the equity and expediency of the laws that are enacted. The share which the people possesses in the government is interesting chiey to the small number of men whose object is the attainment of political importance; but the equity and expediency of the laws are interesting to every member of the community: and more especially to those whose personal insignicance leaves them no encouragement, but what they derive from the general spirit of the government under which they live. It is evident, therefore, that the most important branch of political science is that which has for its object to ascertain the philosophical principles of jurisprudence; or (as Mr Smith expresses it) to ascertain the general principles which ought to run through and be the foundation of the laws of all nations* . In countries where the prejudices of the people are widely at variance with these principles, the political liberty which the constitution bestows, only furnishes them with the means of accomplishing their own ruin: And if it were possible to suppose these principles completely realized in any system of laws, the people would have little reason to complain, that they were not immediately instrumental in their enactment. The only infallible criterion of the excellence of any constitution is to be found in the detail of its municipal code; and the value which wise men set on political freedom, arises chiey from the facility it is supposed to afford, for the introduction of those legislative improvements which the general interests of the community recommenda; combined with the security it provides in the light and spirit of the people, for the pure and equal administration of justicea .I cannot help adding, that the capacity of a people to ex-

45

ercise political rights with utility to themselves and to their country, presupposes a diffusion of knowledge and of good morals, which can only result from the previous operation of laws favourable to industry, to order, and to freedom. Of the truth of these remarks, enlightened politicians seem now to be in general convinced; for the most celebrated works which have been produced in the different countries of Europe, during the last thirty years, by Smith, Quesnai, Turgot, Campomanes, Beccaria, and others, have aimed at the improvement of society,not by delineating plans of new constitutions, but by enlightening the policy of actual legislators. Such speculations, while they are more essentially and more extensively useful than any others, have no tendency to unhinge established institutions, or to iname the passions of the multitude. The improvements they recommend are to be effected by means too gradual and slow in their operation, to warm the imaginations of any but of the speculative few; and in proportion as they are adopted, they consolidate the political fabric, and enlarge the basis upon which it rests. To direct the policy of nations with respect to one most important class of its laws, those which form its system of political economy, is the great aim of Mr Smiths Inquiry:4 And he has unquestionably had the merit of presenting to the world, the most comprehensive and perfect work that has yet appeared, on the general principles of any branch of legislation. The example which he has set will be followed, it is to be hoped, in due time, by other writers, for whom the internal policy of states furnishes many other subjects of discussion no less curious and interesting; and may accelerate the progress of that science which Lord Bacon has so well described in the following passage: Finis et scopus quem leges intueri, atque ad quem jussiones et sanctiones suas dirigere debent, non alius est, quam ut cives feliciter degant; id et, si pietate et religione recte instituti; moribus honesti; armis adversus hostes externos tuti; legum auxilio adversus seditiones et privatas injurias muniti; imperio et magistratibus obsequentes; copiis et opibus locupletes et orentes fuerint.Certe cognitio ista ad viros civiles proprie spectat; qui optime nrunt, quid ferat societas humana, quid salus populi, quid aequitas naturalis, quid gentium mores, quid rerumpublicarum formae diversae: ideoque possint de legibus, ex principiis et praeceptis tam aequitatis naturalis, quam politices decernere. Quamobrem id nunc agatur, ut fontes justitiae et utilitatis publicae petantur, et in singulis juris partibus character quidam et idea justi exhibeatur, ad quam particularium regnorum et rerumpublicarum leges probare, atque inde emendationem moliri, quisque, cui hoc cordi erit et curae, possit.5 The enumeration contained in the foregoing passage, of the different objects of law, coincides very nearly with that given by Mr Smith in the conclusion of his Theory of Moral Sentiments; and the precise aim of the political speculations which he then announced, and of which he afterwards published so valuable a part in his Wealth of Nations, was to ascertain the general principles of justice and of expediency, which ought to guide the institutions of legislators on these important articles;in the words of Lord Bacon, to ascertain those leges legum, ex quibus informatio peti possit, quid in singulis legibus bene aut perperam positum aut constitutum sit.6 The branch of legislation which Mr Smith has made choice of as the subject of his work, naturally leads me to remark a very striking contrast between the spirit of ancient and of modern

46

policy in respect to the Wealth of Nations* . The great object of the former was to counteract the love of money and a taste for luxury, by positive institutions; and to maintain in the great body of the people, habits of frugality, and a severity of manners. The decline of states is uniformly ascribed by the philosophers and historians, both of Greece and Rome, to the inuence of riches on national character; and the laws of Lycurgus, which, during a course of ages, banished the precious metals from Sparta, are proposed by many of them as the most perfect model of legislation devised by human wisdom.How opposite to this is the doctrine of modern politicians! Far from considering poverty as an advantage to a state, their great aim is to open new sources of national opulence, and to animate the activity of all classes of the people, by a taste for the comforts and accommodations of life. One principal cause of this difference between the spirit of ancient and of modern policy, may be found in the difference between the sources of national wealth in ancient and in modern times. In ages when commerce and manufactures were yet in their infancy, and among states constituted like most of the ancient republics, a sudden inux of riches from abroad was justly dreaded as an evil, alarming to the morals, to the industry, and to the freedom of a people. So different, however, is the case at present, that the most wealthy nations are those where the people are the most laborious, and where they enjoy the greatest degree of liberty. Nay, it was the general diffusion of wealth among the lower orders of men, which rst gave birth to the spirit of independence in modern Europe, and which has produced under some of its governments, and especially under our own, a more equal diffusion of freedom and of happiness than took place under the most celebrated constitutions of antiquity.7 Without this diffusion of wealth among the lower orders, the important effects resulting from the invention of printing would have been extremely limited; for a certain degree of ease and independence is necessary to inspire men with the desire of knowledge, and to afford them the leisure which is requisite for acquiring it; and it is only by the rewards which such a state of society holds up to industry and ambition, that the selsh passions of the multitude can be interested in the intellectual improvement of their children. The extensive propagation of light and renement arising from the inuence of the press, aided by the spirit of commerce, seems to be the remedy provided by nature, against the fatal effects which would otherwise by produced, by the subdivision of labour accompanying the progress of the mechanical arts: Nor is any thing wanting to make the remedy effectual, but wise institutions to facilitate general instruction, and to adapt the education of individuals to the stations they are to occupy. The mind of the bartistb , which, from the limited sphere of his activity,8 would sink below the level of the peasant or the savage, might receive in infancy the means of intellectual enjoyment, and the seeds of moral improvement; and even the insipid uniformity of his professional engagements, by presenting no object to awaken his ingenuity or to distract his attention, might leave him at liberty to employ his faculties, on subjects more interesting to himself, and more extensively useful to others. These effects, notwithstanding a variety of opposing causes which still exist, have already resulted, in a very sensible degree, from the liberal policy of modern times. Mr Hume, in his Essay on Commerce, after taking notice of the numerous armies raised and maintained by the small

47

republics in the ancient world, ascribes the military power of these states to their want of commerce and luxury. Few artisans were maintained by the labour of the farmers, and therefore more soldiers might live upon it. He adds, however, that the policy of ancient times was violent, and contrary to the natural course of things;9 by which, I presume, he means, that it aimed too much at modifying, by the force of positive institutions, the order of society, according to some preconceived idea of expediency; without trusting sufciently to those principles of the human constitution, which, wherever they are allowed free scope, not only conduct mankind to happiness, but lay the foundation of a progressive improvement in their condition and in their character. The advantages which modern policy possesses over the ancient, arise principally from its conformity, in some of the most important articles of political economy, to an order of things recommended by nature; and it would not be difcult to shew, that, where it remains imperfect, its errors may be traced to the restraints it imposes on the natural course of human affairs. Indeed, in these restraints may be discovered the latent seeds of many of the prejudices and follies which infect modern manners, and which have so long bid deance to the reasonings of the philosopher and the ridicule of the satirist. The foregoing very imperfect hints appeared to me to form, not only a proper, but in some measure a necessary introduction to the few remarks I have to offer on Mr Smiths Inquiry; as they tend to illustrate a connection between his system of commercial politics, and those speculations of his earlier years, in which he aimed more professedly at the advancement of human improvement and happiness. It is this view of political economy that can alone render it interesting to the moralist, and can dignify calculations of prot and loss in the eye of the philosopher.10 Mr Smith has alluded to it in various passages of his work, but he has nowhere explained himself fully on the subject; and the great stress he has laid on the effects of the division of labour in increasing its productive powers, seems, at rst sight, to point to a different and very melancholy conclusion;that the same causes which promote the progress of the arts, tend to degrade the mind of the artist; and, of consequence, that the growth of national wealth implies a sacrice of the character of the people.11 The fundamental doctrines of Mr Smiths system are now so generally known, that it would have been tedious to offer any recapitulation of them in this place; even if I could have hoped to do justice to the subject, within the limits which I have prescribed to myself at present.c I shall content myself, therefore, with remarking, in general terms, that the great and leading object of his speculations is, to illustrate the provision made by nature in the principles of the human mind, and in the circumstances of mans external situation, for a gradual and progressive augmentation in the means of national wealth; and to demonstrate, that the most effectual plan for advancing a people to greatness, is to maintain that order of things which nature has pointed out; by allowing every man, as long as he observes the rules of justice, to pursue his own interest in his own way, and to bring both his industry and his capital into the freest competition with those of his fellow citizens.12 Every system of policy which endeavours, either by extraordinary encouragements to draw towards a particular species of industry a greater share of the capital of the society than what would naturally go to it, or, by extraordinary restraints, to force from a particular species of

48

industry some share of the capital which would otherwise be employed in it, is, in reality, subversive of the great purpose which it means to promote.13 What the circumstances are, which, in modern Europe, have contributed to disturb this order of nature, and, in particular, to encourage the industry of towns, at the expence of that of the country, Mr Smith has investigated with great ingenuity;14 and in such a manner, as to throw much new light on the history of that state of society which prevails in this quarter of the globe. His observations on this subject tend to shew, that these circumstances were, in their rst origin, the natural and the unavoidable result of the peculiar situation of mankind during a certain period; and that they took their rise, not from any general scheme of policy, but from the private interests and prejudices of particular orders of men. The state of society, however, which at rst arose from a singular combination of accidents, has been prolonged much beyond its natural period, by a false system of political economy, propagated by merchants and manufacturers; a class of individuals, whose interest is not always the same with that of the public, and whose professional knowledge gave them many advantages, more particularly in the infancy of this branch of science, in defending those opinions which they wished to encourage. By means of this system, a new set of obstacles to the progress of national prosperity has been created. Those which arose from the disorders of the feudal ages, tended directly to disturb the internal arrangements of society, by obstructing the free circulation of labour and of stock, from employment to employment, and from place to place. The false system of political economy which has been hitherto prevalent, as its professed object has been to regulate the commercial intercourse between different nations, has produced its effect in a way less direct and less manifest, but equally prejudicial to the states that have adopted it. On this system, as it took its rise from the prejudices, or rather from the interested views of mercantile speculators, Mr Smith bestows the title of the Commercial or Mercantile System;15 and he has considered at great length its two principal expedients for enriching a nation; restraints upon importation, and encouragements to exportation.16 Part of these expedients, he observes, have been dictated by the spirit of monopoly, and part by a spirit of jealousy against those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous.17 All of them appear clearly, from his reasonings, to have a tendency unfavourable to the wealth of the nation which imposes them.His remarks with respect to the jealousy of commerce are expressed in a tone of indignation, which he seldom assumes in his political writings. In this manner (says he) the sneaking arts of underling tradesmen are erected into political maxims for the conduct of a great empire.18 By such maxims as these,19 nations have been taught that their interest consisted in beggaring all their neighbours. Each nation has been made to look with an invidious eye upon the prosperity of all the nations with which it trades, and to consider their gain as its own loss. Commerce, which ought naturally to be among nations as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity. The capricious ambition of Kings and Ministers has not, during the present and the preceding century, been more fatal to the repose of Europe, than the impertinent jealousy of merchants and manufacturers. The violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind is an ancient
49

evil, for which20 perhaps the nature of human affairs can scarce admit of a remedy. But the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are nor ought to be the rulers of mankind, though it cannot perhaps be corrected, may very easily be prevented from disturbing the tranquillity of any body but themselves.21 Such are the liberal principles which, according to Mr Smith, ought to direct the commercial policy of nations; and of which it ought to be the great object of legislators to facilitate the establishment. In what manner the execution of the theory should be conducted in particular instances, is a question of a very different nature, and to which the answer must vary, in different countries, according to the different circumstances of the case. In a speculative work, such as Mr Smiths, the consideration of this question did not fall properly under his general plan; but that he was abundantly aware of the danger to be apprehended from a rash application of political theories, appears not only from the general strain of his writings, but from some incidental observations which he has expressly made upon the subject. So unfortunate (says he, in one passage) are the effects of all the regulations of the mercantile system, that they not only22 introduce very dangerous disorders into the state of the body politic, but disorders which it is often difcult to remedy, without occasioning, for a time at least, still greater disorders.In what manner, therefore,23 the natural system of perfect liberty and justice ought gradually to be restored, we must leave to the wisdom of future statesmen and legislators to determine.24 In the last edition of his Theory of Moral Sentiments, he has introduced some remarks, which have an obvious reference to the same important doctrine. The following passage seems to refer more particularly to those derangements of the social order which derived their origin from the feudal institutions: The man whose public spirit is prompted altogether by humanity and benevolence, will respect the established powers and privileges even of individuals, and still more25 of the great orders and societies into which the state is divided. Though he should consider some of them as in some measure abusive, he will content himself with moderating, what he often cannot annihilate without great violence. When he cannot conquer the rooted prejudices of the people by reason and persuasion, he will not attempt to subdue them by force; but will religiously observe what, by Cicero, is justly called the divine maxim of Plato, never to use violence to his country no more than to his parents. He will accommodate, as well as he can, his public arrangements to the conrmed habits and prejudices of the people; and will remedy, as well as he can, the inconveniencies which may ow from the want of those regulations which the people are averse to submit to. When he cannot establish the right, he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong; but, like Solon, when he cannot establish the best system of laws, he will endeavour to establish the best that the people can bear.26 These cautions with respect to the practical application of general principles were peculiarly necessary from the Author of The Wealth of Nations; as the unlimited freedom of trade, which it is the chief aim of his work to recommend, is extremely apt, by attering the indolence of the statesman, to suggest to those who are invested with absolute power, the idea of carrying it into immediate execution. Nothing is more adverse to the tranquillity of a statesman (says the author of an Eloge on the Administration of Colbert) than a spirit of moderation; because it condemns

50

him to perpetual observation, shews him every moment the insufciency of his wisdom, and leaves him the melancholy sense of his own imperfection; while, under the shelter of a few general principles, a systematical politician enjoys a perpetual calm. By the help of one alone, that of a perfect liberty of trade, he would govern the world, and would leave human affairs to arrange themselves at pleasure, under the operation of the prejudices and the selfinterests of individuals. If these run counter to each other, he gives himself no anxiety about the consequence; he insists that the result cannot be judged of till after a century or two shall have elapsed. If his contemporaries, in consequence of the disorder into which he has thrown public affairs, are scrupulous about submitting quietly to the experiment, he accuses them of impatience. They alone, and not he, are to blame for what they have suffered; and the principle continues to be inculcated with the same zeal and the same condence as before. These are the words of the ingenious and eloquent author of the Eloge on Colbert, which obtained the prize from the French Academy in the year 1763; a performance which, although conned and erroneous in its speculative views, abounds with just and important reections of a practical nature. How far his remarks apply to that particular class of politicians whom he had evidently in his eye in the foregoing passage, I shall not presume to decide. It is hardly necessary for me to add to these observations, that they do not detract in the least from the value of those political theories which attempt to delineate the principles of a perfect legislation. Such theories (as I have elsewhere observed* ) ought to be considered merely as descriptions of the ultimate objects at which the statesman ought to aim. The tranquillity of his administration, and the immediate success of his measures, depend on his good sense and his practical skill; and his theoretical principles only enable him to direct his measures steadily and wisely, to promote the improvement and happiness of mankind, and prevent him from being ever led astray from these important ends, by more limited views of temporary expedience. In all cases (says Mr Hume) it must be advantageous to know what is most perfect in the kind, that we may be able to bring any real constitution or form of government as near it as possible, by such gentle alterations and innovations as may not give too great disturbance to society.27 The limits of this Memoir make it impossible for me to examine particularly the merit of Mr Smiths work in point of originality. That his doctrine concerning the freedom of trade and of industry coincides remarkably with that which we nd in the writings of the French Economists, appears from the slight view of their system which he himself has given.28 But it surely cannot be pretended by the warmest admirers of that system, that any one of its numerous expositors has approached to Mr Smith in the precision and perspicuity with which he has stated it, or in the scientic and luminous manner in which he has deduced it from elementary principles. The awkwardness of their technical language, and the paradoxical form in which they have chosen to present some of their opinions, are acknowledged even by those who are most willing to do justice to their merits; whereas it may be doubted, with respect to Mr Smiths Inquiry, if there exists any book beyond the circle of the mathematical and physical sciences, which is at once so agreeable in its arrangement to the rules of a sound logic, and so accessible to the examination of ordinary readers. Abstracting entirely from the authors peculiar and original speculations, I do not know that, upon any subject whatever, a work has been produced in our times, containing so me51

thodical, so comprehensive, and so judicious a digest of all the most profound and enlightened philosophy of the age* . In justice also to Mr Smith, it must be observed, that although some of the economical writers had the start of him in publishing their doctrines to the world, these doctrines appear, with respect to him, to have been altogether original, and the result of his own reections.29 Of this, I think, every person must be convinced, who reads the Inquiry with due attention, and is at pains to examine the gradual and beautiful progress of the authors ideas: But in case any doubt should remain on this head, it may be proper to mention, that Mr. Smiths political lectures, comprehending the fundamental principles of his Inquiry, were delivered at Glasgow as early as the year 1752 or 1753; at a period, surely, when there existed no French performance on the subject, that could be of much use to him in guiding his researches . In the year 1756, indeed, M. Turgot (who is said to have imbibed his rst notions concerning the unlimited freedom of commerce from an old merchant, M. Gournay), published in the Encyclopdie, an article which sufciently shews how completely his mind was emancipated from the old prejudices in favour of commercial regulations: But that even then, these opinions were conned to a few speculative men in France, appears from a passage in the Mmoires sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de M. Turgot; in which, after a short quotation from the article just mentioned, the author adds: These ideas were then considered as paradoxical; they are since become common, and they will one day be adopted universally. The Political Discourses of Mr Hume were evidently of greater use to Mr Smith, than any other book that had appeared prior to his lectures. Even Mr Humes theories, however, though always plausible and ingenious, and in most instances profound and just, involve some fundamental mistakes; and, when compared with Mr. Smiths, afford a striking proof, that, in considering a subject so extensive and so complicated, the most penetrating sagacity, if directed only to particular questions, is apt to be led astray by rst appearances;30 and that nothing can guard us effectually against error, but a comprehensive survey of the whole eld of discussion, assisted by an accurate and patient analysis of the ideas about which our reasonings are employed.It may be worth while to add, that Mr. Humes Essay on the Jealousy of Trade, with some other of his Political Discourses, received a very attering proof of M. Turgots approbation, by his undertaking the task of translating them into the French language* . I am aware that the evidence I have hitherto produced of Mr Smiths originality may be objected to as not perfectly decisive, as it rests entirely on the recollection of those students who attended his rst courses of moral philosophy at Glasgow; a recollection which, at the distance of forty years, cannot be supposed to be very accurate. There exists, however, fortunately, a short manuscript drawn up by Mr. Smith in the year 1755, and presented by him to a society of which he was then a member;31 in which paper, a pretty long enumeration is given of certain leading principles, both political and literary, to which he was anxious to establish his exclusive right; in order to prevent the possibility of some rival claims which he thought he had reason to apprehend, and to which his situation as a Professor, added to his unreserved communications in private companies, rendered him peculiarly liable. This paper is at present in my possession. It is

52

expressed with a good deal of that honest and indignant warmth, which is perhaps unavoidable by a man who is conscious of the purity of his own intentions, when he suspects that advantages have been taken of the frankness of his temper. On such occasions, due allowances are not always made for those plagiarisms,32 which, however cruel in their effects, do not necessarily imply bad faith in those who are guilty of them; for the bulk of mankind, incapable themselves of original thought, are perfectly unable to form a conception of the nature of the injury done to a man of inventive genius, by encroaching on a favourite speculation. For reasons known to some members of this Society, it would be improper, by the publication of this manuscript, to revive the memory of private differences; and I should not have even alluded to it, if I did not think it a valuable document of the progress of Mr Smiths political ideas at a very early period.33 Many of the most important opinions in The Wealth of Nations are there detailed; but I shall quote only the following sentences: Man is generally considered by statesmen and projectors as the materials of a sort of political mechanics. Projectors disturb nature in the course of her operations in human affairs; and it requires no more than to let her alone, and give her fair play in the pursuit of her ends, that she may establish her own designs.And in another passage: Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things. All governments which thwart this natural course, which force things into another channel, or which endeavour to arrest the progress of society at a particular point, are unnatural, and to support themselves are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical.A great part of the opinions (he observes) enumerated in this paper is treated of at length in some lectures which I have still by me, and which were written in the hand of a clerk who left my service six years ago. They have all of them been the constant subjects of my lectures since I rst taught Mr Craigies class, the rst winter I spent in Glasgow, down to this day, without any considerable variation. They had all of them been the subjects of lectures which I read at Edinburgh the winter before I left it, and I can adduce innumerable witnesses, both from that place and from this, who will ascertain them sufciently to be mine. After all, perhaps the merit of such a work as Mr Smiths is to be estimated less from the novelty of the principles it contains, than from the reasonings employed to support these principles, and from the scientic manner in which they are unfolded in their proper order and connection.34 General assertions with respect to the advantages of a free commerce, may be collected from various writers of an early date. But in questions of so complicated a nature as occur in political economy, the credit of such opinions belongs of right to the author who rst established their solidity, and followed them out to their remote consequences; not to him who, by a fortunate accident, rst stumbled on the truth. Besides the principles which Mr Smith considered as more peculiarly his own, his Inquiry exhibits a systematical view of the most important articles of political economy, so as to serve the purpose of an elementary treatise on that very extensive and difcult science. The skill and the comprehensiveness of mind displayed in his arrangement, can be judged of by those alone who have compared it with that adopted by his immediate predecessors. And perhaps, in point of utility, the labour he has employed in connecting and methodizing their scattered ideas, is not less
53

valuable than the results of his own original speculations: For it is only when digested in a clear and natural order, that truths make their proper impression on the mind, and that erroneous opinions can be combated with success. It does not belong to my present undertaking (even if I were qualied for such a task) to attempt a separation of the solid and important doctrines of Mr Smiths book from those opinions which appear exceptionable or doubtful. I acknowledge, that there are some of his conclusions to which I would not be understood to subscribe implicitly; more particularly in that chapter, where he treats of the principles of taxationd;a subject, which he has certainly examined in a manner more loose and unsatisfactory than most of the others which have fallen under his review* .d It would be improper for me to conclude this section without taking notice of the manly and dignied freedom with which the author uniformly delivers his opinions, and of the superiority which he discovers throughout, to all the little passions connected with the factions of the times in which he wrote. Whoever takes the trouble to compare the general tone of his composition with the period of its rst publication, cannot fail to feel and acknowledge the force of this remark. It is not often that a disinterested zeal for truth has so soon met with its just reward. Philosophers (to use an expression of Lord Bacons) are the servants of posterity; and most of those who have devoted their talents to the best interests of mankind, have been obliged, like Bacon, to bequeath their fame to a race yet unborn, and to console themselves with the idea of sowing what another generation was to reap: Insere Daphni pyros, carpent tua poma nepotes.35 Mr Smith was more fortunate; or rather, in this respect, his fortune was singular. He survived the publication of his work only fteen years; and yet, during that short period, he had not only the satisfaction of seeing the opposition it at rst excited, gradually subside, but to witness the practical inuence of his writings on the commercial policy of his country. SECTION V. Conclusion of the Narrative About two years after the publication of The Wealth of Nations, Mr Smith was appointed one of the Commissioners of his Majestys Customs in Scotland; a perferment which, in his estimation, derived an additional value from its being bestowed on him at the request of the Duke of Buccleuch. The greater part of these two years he passed in London, enjoying a society too extensive and varied to afford him any opportunity of indulging his taste for study. His time, however, was not lost to himself; for much of it was spent with some of the rst names in English literature. Of these no unfavourable specimen is preserved by Dr Barnard, in his wellknown Verses addressed to Sir Joshua Reynolds and his friends. If I have thoughts, and cant express em, Gibbon shall teach me how to dress em In words select and terse:

54

Jones teach me modesty and Greek, Smith how to think, Burke how to speak, And Beauclerc to converse.* In consequence of Mr Smiths appointment to the Board of Customs, he removed, in 1778, to Edinburgh, where he spent the last twelve years of his life; enjoying an afuence which was more than equal to all his wants; and, what was to him of still greater value, the prospect of passing the remainder of his days among the companions of his youth. His mother, who, though now in extreme old age, still possessed a considerable degree of health, and retained all her faculties unimpaired, accompanied him to town; and his cousin Miss Jane Douglas, (who had formerly been a member of his family at Glasgow, and for whom he had always felt the affection of a brother) while she divided with him those tender attentions which her aunts inrmities required, relieved him of a charge for which he was peculiarly ill qualied, by her friendly superintendence of his domestic economy. The accession to his income which his new ofce brought him, enabled him to gratify, to a much greater extent than his former circumstances admitted of, the natural generosity of his disposition; and the state of his funds at the time of his death, compared with his very moderate establishment, conrmed, beyond a doubt, what his intimate acquaintances had often suspected, that a large proportion of his annual savings was allotted to ofces of secret charity. A small, but excellent library, which he had gradually formed with great judgment in the selection; and a simple, though hospitable table, where, without the formality of an invitation, he was always happy to receive his friends, were the only expences that could be considered as his own.* The change in his habits which his removal to Edinburgh produced, was not equally favourable to his literary pursuits. The duties of his ofce, though they required but little exertion of thought, were yet sufcient to waste his spirits and to dissipate his attention; and now that his career is closed, it is impossible to reect on the time they consumed, without lamenting, that it had not been employed in labours more protable to the world, and more equal to his mind. During the rst years of his residence in this city, his studies seemed to be entirely suspended; and his passion for letters served only to amuse his leisure, and to animate his conversation. The inrmities of age, of which he very early began to feel the approaches, reminded him at last, when it was too late, of what he yet owed to the public, and to his own fame. The principal materials of the works which he had announced, had been long ago collected; and little probably was wanting, but a few years of health and retirement, to bestow on them that systematical arrangement in which he delighted; and the ornaments of that owing, and apparently artless style, which he had studiously cultivated, but which, after all his experience in composition, he adjusted, with extreme difculty, to his own taste. The death of his mother in 1784, which was followed by that of Miss Douglas in 1788, contributed, it is probable, to frustrate these projects. They had been the objects of his affection for more than sixty years; and in their society he had enjoyed, from his infancy, all that he ever knew of the endearments of a family. He was now alone, and helpless; and, though he bore his loss

55

with equanimity, and regained apparently his former cheerfulness, yet his health and strength gradually declined till the period of his death, which happened in July 1790, about two years after that of his cousin, and six after that of his mother. His last illness, which arose from a chronic obstruction in his bowels, was lingering and painful; but had every consolation to sooth it which he could derive from the tenderest sympathy of his friends, and from the complete resignation of his own mind. A few days before his death, nding his end approach rapidly, he gave orders to destroy all his manuscripts, excepting some detached essays, which he entrusted to the care of his executors; and they were accordingly committed to the ames. What were the particular contents of these papers, is not known even to his most intimate friends; but there can be no doubt that they consisted, in part, of the lectures on rhetoric, which he read at Edinburgh in the year 1748, and of the lectures on natural religion and on jurisprudence, which formed part of his course at Glasgow. That this irreparable injury to letters proceeded, in some degree, from an excessive solicitude in the author about his posthumous reputation, may perhaps be true; but with respect to some of his manuscripts, may we not suppose, that he was inuenced by higher motives? It is but seldom that a philosopher, who has been occupied from his youth with moral or with political inquiries, succeeds completely to his wish in stating to others, the grounds upon which his own opinions are founded; and hence it is, that the known principles of an individual, who has approved to the public his candour, his liberality, and his judgment, are entitled to a weight and an authority, independent of the evidence which he is able, upon any particular occasion, to produce in their support. A secret consciousness of this circumstance, and an apprehension that, by not doing justice to an important argument, the progress of truth may be rather retarded than advanced, have probably induced many authors to withhold from the world the unnished results of their most valuable labours; and to content themselves with giving the general sanction of their suffrages to truths which they regarded as peculiarly interesting to the human race.* The additions to the Theory of Moral Sentiments, most of which were composed under severe disease, had fortunately been sent to the press in the beginning of the preceding winter; and the author lived to see the publication of the work.1 The moral and serious strain that prevails through these additions, when connected with the circumstance of his declining health, adds a peculiar charm to his pathetic eloquence, and communicates a new interest, if possible, to those sublime truths, which, in the academical retirement of his youth, awakened the rst ardours of his genius, and on which the last efforts of his mind reposed. In a letter addressed, in the year 1787, to the Principal of the University of Glasgow, in consequence of being elected Rector of that learned body, a pleasing memorial remains of the satisfaction with which he always recollected that period of his literary career, which had been more peculiarly consecrated to these important studies. No preferment (says he) could have given me so much real satisfaction. No man can owe greater obligations to a society than I do to the University of Glasgow. They educated me; they sent me to Oxford. Soon after my return to Scotland, they elected me one of their own members; and afterwards preferred me to another ofce, to which the abilities and virtues of the never to be forgotten Dr Hutcheson had given a superior

56

degree of illustration. The period of thirteen years which I spent as a member of that society, I remember as by far the most useful, and therefore as by far the happiest and most honourable period of my life; and now, after three and twenty years absence, to be remembered in so very agreeable a manner by my old friends and protectors, gives me a heartfelt joy which I cannot easily express to you.2 The short narrative which I have now nished, however barren of incident, may convey a general idea of the genius and character of this illustrious Man. Of the intellectual gifts and attainments by which he was so eminently distinguished;of the originality and comprehensiveness of his views; the extent, the variety, and the correctness of his information; the inexhaustible fertility of his invention; and the ornaments which his rich and beautiful imagination had borrowed from classical culture;he has left behind him lasting monuments. To his private worth the most certain of all testimonies may be found in that condence, respect, and attachment, which followed him through all the various relations of life. The serenity and gaiety he enjoyed, under the pressure of his growing inrmities, and the warm interest he felt to the last, in every thing connected with the welfare of his friends, will be long remembered by a small circle, with whom, as long as his strength permitted, he regularly spent an evening in the week; and to whom the recollection of his worth still forms a pleasing, though melancholy bond of union. The more delicate and characteristical features of his mind, it is perhaps impossible to trace. That there were many peculiarities, both in his manners, and in his intellectual habits, was manifest to the most supercial observer; but although, to those who knew him, these peculiarities detracted nothing from the respect which his abilities commanded; and although, to his intimate friends, they added an inexpressible charm to his conversation, while they displayed, in the most interesting light, the artless simplicity of his heart; yet it would require a very skilful pencil to present them to the public eye. He was certainly not tted for the general commerce of the world, or for the business of active life. The comprehensive speculations with which he had been occupied from his youth, and the variety of materials which his own invention continually supplied to his thoughts, rendered him habitually inattentive to familiar objects, and to common occurrences; and he frequently exhibited instances of absence, which have scarcely been surpassed by the fancy of La Bruyre. Even in company, he was apt to be engrossed with his studies; and appeared, at times, by the motion of his lips, as well as by his looks and gestures, to be in the fervour of composition. I have often, however, been struck, at the distance of years, with his accurate memory of the most triing particulars; and am inclined to believe, from this and some other circumstances, that he possessed a power, not perhaps uncommon among absent men, of recollecting, in consequence of subsequent efforts of reection, many occurrences, which, at the time when they happened, did not seem to have sensibly attracted his notice. To the defect now mentioned, it was probably owing, in part, that he did not fall in easily with the common dialogue of conversation, and that he was somewhat apt to convey his own ideas in the form of a lecture. When he did so, however, it never proceeded from a wish to engross the discourse, or to gratify his vanity. His own inclination disposed him so strongly to enjoy in silence the gaiety of those around him, that his friends were often led to concert little schemes, in order

57

to engage him in the discussions most likely to interest him. Nor do I think I shall be accused of going too far, when I say, that he was scarcely ever known to start a new topic himself, or to appear unprepared upon those topics that were introduced by others. Indeed, his conversation was never more amusing than when he gave a loose to his genius, upon the very few branches of knowledge of which he only possessed the outlines. The opinions he formed of men, upon a slight acquaintance, were frequently erroneous; but the tendency of his nature inclined him much more to blind partiality, than to illfounded prejudice. The enlarged views of human affairs, on which his mind habitually dwelt, left him neither time nor inclination to study, in detail, the uninteresting peculiarities of ordinary characters; and accordingly, though intimately acquainted with the capacities of the intellect, and the workings of the heart, and accustomed, in his theories, to mark, with the most delicate hand, the nicest shades, both of genius and of the passions; yet, in judging of individuals, it sometimes happened, that his estimates were, in a surprising degree, wide of the truth. The opinions, too, which, in the thoughtlessness and condence of his social hours, he was accustomed to hazard on books, and on questions of speculation, were not uniformly such as might have been expected from the superiority of his understanding, and the singular consistency of his philosophical principles. They were liable to be inuenced by accidental circumstances, and by the humour of the moment; and when retailed by those who only saw him occasionally, suggested false and contradictory ideas of his real sentiments. On these, however, as on most other occasions, there was always much truth, as well as ingenuity, in his remarks; and if the different opinions which, at different times, he pronounced upon the same subject, had been all combined together, so as to modify and limit each other, they would probably have afforded materials for a decision, equally comprehensive and just. But, in the society of his friends, he had no disposition to form those qualied conclusions that we admire in his writings; and he generally contented himself with a bold and masterly sketch of the object, from the rst point of view in which his temper, or his fancy, presented it. Something of the same kind might be remarked, when he attempted, in the ow of his spirits, to delineate those characters which, from long intimacy, he might have been supposed to understand thoroughly. The picture was always lively, and expressive; and commonly bore a strong and amusing resemblance to the original, when viewed under one particular aspect; but seldom, perhaps, conveyed a just and complete conception of it in all its dimensions and proportions.In a word, it was the fault of his unpremeditated judgments, to be too systematical, and too much in extremes. But, in whatever way these triing peculiarities in his manners may be explained, there can be no doubt, that they were intimately connected with the genuine artlessness of his mind. In this amiable quality, he often recalled to his friends, the accounts that are given of good La Fontaine; a quality which in him derived a peculiar grace from the singularity of its combination with those powers of reason and of eloquence, which, in his political and moral writings, have long engaged the admiration of Europe. In his external form and appearance, there was nothing uncommon. When perfectly at ease, and when warmed with conversation, his gestures were animated, and not ungraceful: and, in the
58

society of those he loved, his features were often brightened with a smile of inexpressible benignity. In the company of strangers, his tendency to absence, and perhaps still more his consciousness of this tendency, rendered his manner somewhat embarrassed;an effect which was probably not a little heightened by those speculative ideas of propriety, which his recluse habits tended at once to perfect in his conception, and to diminish his power of realizing. He never sat for his picture; but the medallion of Tassie conveys an exact idea of his prole, and of the general expression of his countenance. His valuable library, together with the rest of his property, was bequeathed to his cousin Mr David Douglas, Advocate.* In the education of this young gentleman, he had employed much of his leisure; and it was only two years before his death (at a time when he could ill spare the pleasure of his society), that he had sent him to study law at Glasgow, under the care of Mr Millar;the strongest proof he could give of his disinterested zeal for the improvement of his friend, as well as of the esteem in which he held the abilities of that eminent Professor. The executors of his will were Dr Black and Dr Hutton; with whom he had long lived in habits of the most intimate and cordial friendship; and who, to the many other testimonies which they had given him of their affection, added the mournful ofce of witnessing his last moments. Notes to the LIFE OF ADAM SMITH, LL.D. Note (A.), p. 270 Of this number were Mr Oswald of Dunikeir, etc.]The late James Oswald, Esq.for many years one of the most active, able and publicspirited of our Scottish representatives in Parliament. He was more particularly distinguished by his knowledge in matters of nance, and by his attention to whatever concerned the commercial or the agricultural interests of the country. From the manner in which he is mentioned in a paper of Mr Smiths which I have perused, he appears to have combined, with that detailed information which he is well known to have possessed as a statesman and man of business, a taste for the more general and philosophical discussions of political economy. He lived in habits of great intimacy with Lord Kames and Mr Hume; and was one of Mr Smiths earliest and most condential friends.1 Note (B.), p. 271 The lectures of the profound and eloquent Dr Hutcheson, etc.] Those who have derived their knowledge of Dr Hutcheson solely from his publications, may, perhaps, be inclined to dispute the propriety of the epithet eloquent, when applied to any of his compositions; more particularly, when applied to the System of Moral Philosophy, which was published after his death, as the substance of his lectures in the University of Glasgow. His talents, however, as a public speaker, must have been of a far higher order than what he has displayed as a writer; all his pupils whom I have happened to meet with (some of them, certainly, very competent judges) having agreed ex59

actly with each other in their accounts of the extraordinary impression which they made on the minds of his hearers. I have mentioned, in the text, Mr Smith as one of his warmest admirers; and to his name I shall take this opportunity of adding those of the late Earl of Selkirk; the late Lord President Miller; and the late Dr Archibald Maclaine, the very learned and judicious translator of Mosheims Ecclesiastical History. My father, too, who had attended Dr Hutchesons lectures for several years, never spoke of them without much sensibility. On this occasion we can only say, as Quinctilian has done of the eloquence of Hortensius; Apparet placuisse aliquid eo dicente, quod legentes non invenimus.2 Dr Hutchesons Inquiry into our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue; his Discourse on the Passions; and his Illustrations of the Moral Sense, are much more strongly marked with the characteristical features of his genius, than his posthumous work. His great and deserved fame, however, in this country, rests now chiey on the traditionary history of his academical lectures, which appear to have contributed very powerfully to diffuse, in Scotland, that taste for analytical discussion, and that spirit of liberal inquiry, to which the world is indebted for some of the most valuable productions of the eighteenth century. Note (C.), p. 290 According to <John Gillies> the learned English translator of Aristotles Ethics and Politics, the general idea which runs through Mr Smiths Theory, was obviously borrowed from the following passage of Polybius: From the union of the two sexes, to which all are naturally inclined, children are born. When any of these, therefore, being arrived at perfect age, instead of yielding suitable returns of gratitude and assistance to those by whom they have been bred, on the contrary, attempt to injure them by words or actions, it is manifest that those who behold the wrong, after having also seen the sufferings and the anxious cares that were sustained by the parents in the nourishment and education of their children, must be greatly offended and displeased at such proceeding. For man, who among all the various kinds of animals is alone endowed with the faculty of reason, cannot, like the rest, pass over such actions: but will make reection on what he sees; and comparing likewise the future with the present, will not fail to express his indignation at this injurious treatment; to which, as he foresees, he may also, at some time, be exposed. Thus again, when any one who has been succoured by another in the time of danger, instead of shewing the like kindness to this benefactor, endeavours at any time to destroy or hurt him; it is certain, that all men must be shocked by such ingratitude, through sympathy with the resentment of their neighbour; and from an apprehension also, that the case may be their own. And from hence arises, in the mind of every man, a certain notion of the nature and force of duty, in which consists both the beginning and the end of justice. In like manner, the man, who, in defence of others, is seen to throw himself the foremost into every danger, and even to sustain the fury of the ercest animals, never fails to obtain the loudest acclamations of applause and veneration from all the multitude; while he who shews a different conduct is pursued with censure and reproach. And thus it is, that the people begin to discern the nature of things honourable and base, and in what consists the difference between them; and to perceive that the former, on account of the advan60

tage that attends them, are t to be admired and imitated, and the latter to be detested and avoided. The doctrine (says Dr Gillies) contained in this passage is expanded by Dr Smith into a theory of moral sentiments. But he departs from his author, in placing the perception of right and wrong, in sentiment or feeling, ultimately and simply.Polybius, on the contrary, maintains with Aristotle, that these notions arise from reason, or intellect, operating on affection or appetite; or, in other words, that the moral faculty is a compound, and may be resolved into two simpler principles of the mind.(Gilliess Aristotle, Vol. I. pp. 302, 303, 2d Edit.) The only expression I object to in the two preceding sentences, is the phrase, his author, which has the appearance of insinuating a charge of plagiarism against Mr Smith;a charge which, I am condent, he did not deserve; and to which the above extract does not, in my opinion, afford any plausible colour. It exhibits, indeed, an instance of a curious coincidence between two philosophers in their views of the same subject; and as such, I have no doubt that Mr Smith himself would have remarked it, had it occurred to his memory, when he was writing his book. Of such accidental coincidences between different minds, examples present themselves every day to those, who, after having drawn from their internal resources all the lights they could supply on a particular question, have the curiosity to compare their own conclusions with those of their predecessors: And it is extremely worthy of observation, that, in proportion as any conclusion approaches to the truth, the number of previous approximations to it may be reasonably expected to be multiplied. In the case before us, however, the question about originality is of little or no moment; for the peculiar merit of Mr Smiths work does not lie in his general principle, but in the skilful use he has made of it to give a systematical arrangement to the most important discussions and doctrines of Ethics. In this point of view, the Theory of Moral Sentiments may be justly regarded as one of the most original efforts of the human mind in that branch of science to which it relates; and even if we were to suppose that it was rst suggested to the author by a remark of which the world was in possession for two thousand years before, this very circumstance would only reect a stronger lustre on the novelty of his design, and on the invention and taste displayed in its execution. I have said, in the text, that my own opinion about the foundation of morals does not agree with that of Mr Smith; and I propose to state, in another publication, the grounds of my dissent from his conclusions on that question.* At present, I shall only observe, that I consider the defects of his Theory as originating rather in a partial, than in a mistaken view of the subject; while, on some of the most essential points of ethics, it appears to me to approximate very nearly to a correct statement of the truth. I must not omit to add, in justice to the author, that his zeal to support his favourite system never has led him to vitiate or misrepresent the phenomena which he has employed it to explain; and that the connected order which he has given to a multiplicity of isolated facts, must facilitate greatly the studies of any of his successors, who may hereafter prosecute the same inquiry, agreeably to the severe rules of the inductive logic.

61

After the passage which I have quoted in the beginning of this note, I hope I shall be pardoned if I express my doubts, whether the learned and ingenious bwriterb has not, upon this, as well as on some other occasions, allowed his partiality to the ancients to blind him a little too much to the merits of his contemporaries. Would not his laborious and interesting researches into the remains of the Greek philosophy, have been employed still more usefully in revealing to us the systems and discoveries to which our successors may yet lay claim, than in conjectures concerning the origin of those with which we are already acquainted? How does it happen that those men of profound erudition, who can so easily trace every past improvement to the fountainhead of antiquity, should not sometimes amuse themselves, and instruct the world, by anticipating the future progress of the human mind. In studying the connection and liation of successive Theories, when we are at a loss, in any instance, for a link to complete the continuity of philosophical speculation, it seems much more reasonable to search for it in the systems of the immediately preceding period, and in the inquiries which then occupied the public attention, than in detached sentences, or accidental expressions gleaned from the relics of distant ages. It is thus only, that we can hope to seize the precise point of view, in which an authors subject rst presented itself to his attention; and to account, to our own satisfaction, from the particular aspect under which he saw it, for the subsequent direction which was given to his curiosity. In following such a plan, our object is not to detect plagiarisms, which we suppose men of genius to have intentionally concealed; but to ll up an apparent chasm in the history of Science, by laying hold of the thread which insensibly guided the mind from one station to another. By what easy and natural steps Mr Smiths Theory arose from the state of ethical discussion in Great Britain, when he began his literary career, I shall endeavour elsewhere to explain.3 A late author, of taste and learning, has written a pleasing and instructive essay on the Marks of Poetical Imitation. The marks of Philosophical Plagiarism, are not less discernible by an unprejudiced and discriminating eye; and are easily separable from that occasional similarity of thought and of illustration, which we may expect to meet with in writers of the most remote ages and countries, when employed in examining the same questions, or in establishing the same truths. As the foregoing observations apply with fully as great force to the Wealth of Nations, as to the Theory of Moral Sentiments, I trust some allowance will be made for the length of this note.*
d

Note (D.), p. 292

Extracted by Mr. Stewart from (John) Nicholss Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, etc., Vol III (1818), pp. 515, 516; and appended in manuscript to one of his own copies of this Memoir. (Edinburgh University Library, MS. Df.4.52* .) Dr. Adam Smith to Mr. George Baird4 Glasgow, February 7, 1763.

62

DEAR SIR,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 anything in my power towards completing 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, rst invented to express in one word a complete event: I should then have endeavoured to show how the subject was divided 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 modications, considered as necessary to express all the different qualications 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 nd 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 denitions which different authors have given of nouns substantive, takes no notice of that of the Abb Girard, the author of a book called Les vrais Principes de la Langue Franaise, which made me think it might be possible he had not seen it. It is a book which rst 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 Encyclopdie 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, dear Sir, sincerely yours, (Signed) ADAM SMITH.
e

Note (E.), p. 302

I ought to have mentioned, among the number of Mr. Smiths friends at Paris, the Abb Morellet, of whom I have frequently heard him speak with much respect. But his name, with which I was not then very well acquainted, happened to escape my recollection while writing this Memoir; nor was I at all aware that they had been so well known to each other, as I have since learned that they were. On this subject I might quote the Abb Morellet himself, of whom I had the pleasure to see much in the year 1806; but I prefer a reference to his own words, which coincide exactly with what he stated to myself. Javais connu Smith dans un voyage quil avait fait en France, vers
63

1762; il parlait fort mal notre langue; mais La Thorie des Sentimens Moraux, publie en 1758, mavait donn une grande ide de sa sagacit et de sa profondeur. Et vritablement je le regarde encore aujourdhui comme un des hommes qui a fait les observations et les analyses les plus compltes dans toutes les questions quil a traites. M. Turgot, qui aimait ainsi que moi la mtaphysique, estimait beaucoup son talent. Nous le vmes plusieurs fois; il fut prsent chez Helvtius; nous parlmes de la thorie commerciale, banque, crdit public, et de plusieurs points du grand ouvrage quil mditait.Mmoires de lAbb Morellet, Tome I. p. 257, (Paris, 1821). Note (F.), p. 303 The Theory of Moral Sentiments does not seem to have attracted so much notice in France as might have been expected, till after the publication of the Wealth of Nations. Mr Smith used to ascribe this in part to the Abb Blavets translation, which he thought was but indifferently executed. A better reason, however, may perhaps be found in the low and stationary condition of Ethical and Metaphysical science in that country, previous to the publication of the Encyclopdie. On this head I beg leave to transcribe a few sentences from an anonymous paper of his own, printed in the Edinburgh Review for the year 1755. The remarks contained in them, so far as they are admitted to be just, tend strongly to conrm an observation which I have elsewhere quoted from DAlembert, with respect to the literary taste of his countrymen. (See Philosophical Essays, pp. 110111.) fPart I, Essay iii; <Stewart>, Works Vol.V. p. 126.f The original and inventive genius of the English, has not only discovered itself in Natural Philosophy, but in morals, metaphysics, and part of the abstract sciences. Whatever attempts have been made in modern times towards improvement in this contentious and unprosperous philosophy, beyond what the ancients have left us, have been made in England. The meditations of Des Cartes excepted, I know nothing in French that aims at being original on that subject; for the philosophy of M. Regis, as well as that of Father Malebranche, are but renements on the meditations of Des Cartes. But Mr Hobbes, Mr Locke, and Dr Mandeville, Lord Shaftesbury, Dr Butler, Dr Clarke, and Mr Hutcheson, have all of them, according to their different and inconsistent systems, endeavoured at least, to be, in some measure, original; and to add something to that stock of observations with which the world had been furnished before them. This branch of the English Philosophy, which seems now to be entirely neglected by the English themselves, has, of late, been transported into France. I observe some traces of it, not only in the Encyclopdie, but in the Theory of agreeable sentiments by M. de Pouilly, a work that is in many respects original; and above all, in the late Discourse upon the origin and foundation of the inequality amongst mankind, by M. Rousseau of Geneva. A new translation of Mr Smiths Theory, (including his last additions), was published at Paris in 1798 by Madame de Condorcet, with some ingenious letters on Sympathy annexed to it, written by the translator.

64

Note (G.), p. 309 By way of explanation of what is hinted at in the footnote, p. 309, I think it proper for me now to add, that at the period when this memoir was read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, it was not unusual, even among men of some talents and information, to confound, studiously, the speculative doctrines of Political Economy, with those discussions concerning the rst principles of Government which happened unfortunately at that time to agitate the public mind.5 The doctrine of a Free Trade was itself represented as of a revolutionary tendency; and some who had formerly prided themselves on their intimacy with Mr. Smith, and on their zeal for the propagation of his liberal system, began to call in question the expediency of subjecting to the disputations of philosophers, the arcana of State Policy, and the unfathomable wisdom of the feudal ages. In reprinting this Section at present, I have, from obvious motives, followed scrupulously the text of the rst edition, without any alterations or additions whatsoever; reserving any comments and criticisms which I have to offer on Mr. Smiths work, for a different publication. (1810.) Note (H.), p. 320 Notwithstanding the unqualied praise I have bestowed, in the text, on Mr Smiths arrangement, I readily admit, that some of his incidental discussions and digressions might have been more skilfully and happily incorporated with his general design. Little stress, however, will be laid on blemishes of this sort, by those who are aware of the extreme difculty of giving any thing like a systematic shape to researches so various, and, at rst view, so unconnected, as his plan embraces:Some of them having for their aim to establish abstract principles of universal application; and others bearing a particular reference to the circumstances and policy of our own country.It ought to be remembered, besides, how much our taste, in matters of arrangement, is liable to be inuenced by our individual habits of thought; by the accidental conduct of our early studies; and by other circumstances which may be expected to present the same objects under different aspects to different inquirers. Something of this kind is experienced even in those more exact Sciences, where the whole business of an elementary writer is to state known and demonstrated truths, in a logical and pleasing series. It has been experienced most remarkably in pure geometry, the elements of which have been modelled into a hundred different forms by the rst mathematicians of modern Europe; while none of them has yet been able to unite the suffrages of the public in favour of any one arrangement as indisputably the best. What allowances, then, are those entitled to, who, venturing upon a vast and untrodden eld, aspire to combine with the task of original speculation, a systematical regard to luminous method, if they should sometimes happen to mistake the historical order of their own conclusions for the natural procedure of the human understanding!

65

Note (I.), p. 321* When this memoir was rst written, I was not fully aware to what an extent the French Economists had been anticipated in some of their most important conclusions, by writers (chiey British) of a much earlier date. I had often, indeed, been struck with the coincidence between their reasonings concerning the advantages of their territorial tax, and Mr Lockes speculations on the same subject, in one of his political discourses published sixty years before; as well as with the coincidence of their argument against corporations and exclusive companies, with what had been urged at a still earlier period, by the celebrated John de Witt; by Sir Josiah Child; by John Cary of Bristol; and by various other speculative men, who appeared in the latter part of the seventeenth century. To these last writers, my attention had been directed by some quotations and references of the Abb Morellet, in his very able Memoir on the East India Company of France, printed in 1769. Many passages, however, much more full and explicit than those which had fallen in his way, have been pointed out to me by the Earl of Lauderdale, in his curious and valuable collection of rare English Tracts relating to political economy. In some of these, the argument is stated in a manner so clear and so conclusive, as to render it surprising, that truths of which the public has been so long in possession, should have been so completely overborne by prejudice and misrepresentation, as to have had, to a large proportion of readers, the appearance of novelty and paradox, when revived in the philosophical theories of the present age* . The system of political economy which professes to regulate the commercial intercourse of different nations, and which Mr Smith has distinguished by the title of the Commercial, or Mercantile System, had its root in prejudices still more inveterate than those which restrained the freedom of commerce and industry among the members of the same community. It was supported not only by the prejudices with which all innovations have to contend, and by the talents of very powerful bodies of men interested to defend it, but by the mistaken and clamorous patriotism of many good citizens, and their blind hostility to supposed enemies or rivals abroad. The absurd and delusive principles, too, formerly so prevalent, with respect to the nature of national wealth, and the essential importance of a favourable balance of trade (principles which, though now so clearly and demonstrably exploded by the arguments of Mr Smith, must be acknowledged to fall in naturally, and almost inevitably, with the rst apprehensions of the mind when it begins to speculate concerning the Theory of Commerce), communicated to the Mercantile System a degree of plausibility, against which the most acute reasoners of our own times are not always sufciently on their guard. It was accordingly, at a considerably later period, that the wisdom of its maxims came to be the subject of general discussion; and, even at this day, the controversy to which the discussion gave rise cannot be said to be completely settled, to the satisfaction of all parties. A few enlightened individuals, however, in different parts of Europe, very early got a glimpse of the truth ; and it is but justice, that the scattered hints which they threw out should be treasured up as materials for literary history. I have sometimes thought of attempting a slight sketch on that subject myself; but am not without hopes that this suggestion may have the effect of recommending the task to some abler hand. At present, I shall only quote one or two paragraphs from a pamphlet published in 1734, by Jacob Vanderlint* ; an author whose name has been frequently referred to of late years, but whose book never seems to have attracted much no66

tice till long after the publication of the Wealth of Nations. He describes himself, in his Preface, as an ordinary tradesman, from whom the conciseness and accuracy of a scholar is not to be expected; and yet the following passages will bear a comparison, both in point of good sense and of liberality, with what was so ably urged by Mr Hume twenty years afterwards, in his Essay on the Jealousy of Trade. All nations have some commodities peculiar to them, which, therefore, are undoubtedly designed to be the foundation of commerce between the several nations, and produce a great deal of maritime employment for mankind, which probably, without such peculiarities, could not be; and in this respect, I suppose, we are distinguished, as well as other nations; and I have before taken notice, that if one nation be by nature more distinguished in this respect than another, as they will, by that means, gain more money than such other nations, so the prices of all their commodities and labour will be higher in such proportion, and consequently, they will not be richer or more powerful for having more money than their neighbours. But, if we import any kind of goods cheaper than we can now raise them, which otherwise might be as well raised at home; in this case, undoubtedly, we ought to attempt to raise such commodities, and thereby furnish so many new branches of employment and trade for our own people; and remove the inconvenience of receiving any goods from abroad, which we can anywise raise on as good terms ourselves: and, as this should be done to prevent every nation from nding their account with us by any such commodities whatsoever, so this would more effectually shut out all such foreign goods than any law can do. And as this is all the prohibitions and restraints whereby any foreign trade should be obstructed, so, if this method were observed, our gentry would nd themselves the richer, notwithstanding their consumption of such other foreign goods, as being the peculiarities of other nations, we may be obliged to import. For if, when we have thus raised all we can at home, the goods we import after this is done be cheaper than we can raise such goods ourselves, (which they must be, otherwise we shall not import them), it is plain, the consumption of any such goods cannot occasion so great an expence as they would, if we could shut them out by an act of parliament, in order to raise them ourselves. From hence, therefore, it must appear, that it is impossible any body should be poorer, for using any foreign goods at cheaper rates than we can raise them ourselves, after we have done all we possibly can to raise such goods as cheap as we import them, and nd we cannot do it; nay, this very circumstance makes all such goods come under the character of the peculiarities of those countries, which are able to raise any such goods cheaper than we can do; for they will necessarily operate as such.(pp. 97, 98, 99.) The same author, in another part of his work, quotes from Erasmus Philips, a maxim which he calls a glorious one: That a trading nation should be an open warehouse, where the merchant may buy what he pleases, and sell what he can. Whatever is brought to you, if you dont want it, you wont purchase it; if you do want it, the largeness of the impost dont keep it from you.

67

All nations of the world, therefore, (says Vanderlint) should be regarded as one body of tradesmen, exercising their various occupations for the mutual benet and advantage of each other.(p. 42.) I will not contend, (he adds, evidently in compliance with national prejudices,) I will not contend for a free and unrestrained trade with respect to France, though I cant see it could do us any harm even in that case.(p. 45.) In these last sentences, an argument is suggested for a free commerce all over the globe, founded on the same principle on which Mr Smith has demonstrated the benecial effects of a division and distribution of labour among the members of the same community. The happiness of the whole race would, in fact, be promoted by the former arrangement, in a manner exactly analogous to that in which the comforts of a particular nation are multiplied by the latter. In the same Essay, Mr. Vanderlint, following the footsteps of Locke, maintains, with considerable ingenuity, the noted doctrine of the Economists, that all taxes fall ultimately on land; and recommends the substitution of a landtax, in place of those complicated scal regulations, which have been everywhere adopted by the statesmen of modern Europe; and which, while they impoverish and oppress the people, do not, in the same degree, enrich the sovereign* . The doctrine which more exclusively distinguishes this celebrated sect, is neither that of the freedom of trade, nor of the territorial tax, (on both of which topics they had been, in part, anticipated by English writers), but what they have so ingeniously and forcibly urged, with respect to the tendency of the existing regulations and restraints, to encourage the industry of towns in preference to that of the country. To revive the languishing agriculture of France was the rst and the leading aim of their speculations; and it is impossible not to admire the metaphysical acuteness and subtlety, with which all their various discussions are so combined as to bear systematically upon this favourite object. The inuence of their labours in turning the attention of French statesmen, under the old monarchy, to the encouragement of this essential branch of national industry, was remarked by Mr Smith more than thirty years ago; nor has it altogether ceased to operate in the same direction, under all the violent and fantastic metamorphoses which the government of that country has since exhibited* . In combating the policy of commercial privileges, and in asserting the reciprocal advantages of a free trade among different nations, the founders of the economical sect candidly acknowledged, from the beginning, that their rst lights were borrowed from England. The testimony of M. Turgot upon this point is so perfectly decisive, that I hope to gratify some of my readers (in the present interrupted state of our communication with the continent), by the following quotations from a memoir, which, till lately, was very little known, even in France. They are transcribed from his Eloge on M. Vincent de Gournay; a name which has always been united with that of Quesnay, by the French writers who have attempted to trace the origin and progress of the now prevailing opinions on this branch of legislation.(Oeuvres de M. Turgot, Tome III. Paris, 1808.) JeanClaudeMarie Vincent, Seigneur De Gournay, etc. est mort Paris le 27. Juin dernier (1759) g de quarante sept ans.

68

Il etoit n SaintMalo, au moi de Mai 1712, de Claude Vincent, lun des plus considrables ngocians de cette ville, et secrtaire du roi. Ses parens le destinrent au commerce, et lenvoyrent Cadix en 1729, peine g de dix sept ans.(p. 321.) Aux lumires que M. de Gournay tiroit de sa propre exprience et de ses rexions, il joignit la lecture des meilleurs ouvrages que possdent sur cette matire les diffrentes nations de lEurope, et en particulier la nation Angloise, la plus riche de toutes en ce genre, et dont il stoit rendu, pour cette raison, la langue familire. Les ouvrages quil lut avec plus de plaisir, et dont il gota le plus la doctrine, furent les traits du fameux Josias Child, quil a traduits depuis en Franois, et les mmoires du Grand Pensionnaire Jean de Witt. On sait que ces deux grands hommes sont considrs, lun en Angleterre, lautre en Hollande, comme les lgislateurs du commerce; que leurs principes sont devenus les principes nationaux, et que lobservation de ces principes est regarde comme une des sources de la prodigieuse supriorit que ces deux nations ont acquise dans le commerce sur toutes les autres puissances. M. de Gournay trouvoit sans cesse dans la pratique dun commerce tendu la vrication de ces principes simples et lumineux, il se les rendoit propres sans prvoir quil toit destin en repandre un jour la lumire en France, et mriter de sa patrie le mme tribut de reconnoissance, que lAngleterre et la Hollande rendent la mmoire de ces deux bienfaiteurs de leur nation et de lhumanit.(pp. 324, 325.) M. de Gournay, aprs avoir quitt lEspagne, prit la resolution demployer quelques annes voyager dans les diffrentes parties de lEurope, soit pour augmenter ses connoissances, soit pour tendre ses correspondances et former des liaisons avantageuses pour le commerce, quil se proposoit de continuer. Il voyagea Hambourg; il parcourut la Hollande et lAngleterre; partout il faisoit des observations et rassembloit des mmoires sur letat du commerce et de la marine, et sur les principes dadministration adopts par ces diffrentes nations relativement ces grands objects. Il entretenoit pendant ses voyages une correspondance suivie avec M. de Maurepas, auquel il faisoit part des lumires quiil recueilloit.(pp. 325, 326.) M. de Gournay acheta, en 1749, une charge de conseiller au grand conseil; et une place dintendant du commerce etant venue vquer au commencement de 1751, M. de Machault, qui le mrite de M. de Gournay etoit trsconnu, la lui t donner. Cest de ce moment que la vie de M. de Gournay devint celle dun homme public: son entre au Bureau du commerce parut tre lepoque dune rvolution. M. de Gournay, dans une pratique de vingt ans du commerce le plus tendu et le plus vari, dans la frquentation des plus habiles ngocians de Hollande et dAngleterre, dans la lecture des auteurs les plus estims de ces deux nations, dans lobservation attentive des causes de leur tonnante prosprit, stoit fait des principes qui parurent nouveaux quelquesuns des magistrats qui composoient le Bureau du Commerce.(pp. 327, 328.) M. de Gournay nignoroit pas que plusieurs des abus auxquels il sopposoit, avoient t autrefois tablis dans une grande partie de lEurope, et quil en restoit mme encore des vestiges en Angleterre; mais il savoit aussi que le gouvernement Anglois en avoit dtruit une partie; que sil en restoit encore quelquesunes, bien loin de les adopter comme des tablissemens utiles, il cherchoit les restreindre, les empcher de stendre, et ne les tolroit encore, que parceque la
69

constitution rpublicaine met quelquefois des obstacles la rformation de certains abus, lorsque ces abus ne peuvent tre corrigs que par une autorit dont lexercice le plus avantageux au peuple excite toujours sa dance. Il savoit enn que depuis un sicle toutes les personnes claires, soit en Hollande, soit en Angleterre, regardoient ces abus comme des restes de la barbarie Gothique et de la foiblesse de tous les gouvernemens qui navoient ni connu limportance de la libert publique, ni su la protger des invasions de lesprit monopoleur et de lintrt particulier* . M. de Gournay avoit fait et vu faire, pendant vingt ans, le plus grand commerce de lunivers sans avoir eu occasion dapprendre autrement que par les livres lexistence de toutes ces loix auxquelles il voyoit attacher tant dimportance, et il ne croyoit point alors quon le prendroit pour un novateur et un homme systmes, lorsqu il ne feroit que dvelopper les principes que lexperience lui avoit enseigns, et quil voyoit universellement reconnus par les ngocians les plus clairs avec lesquels il vivoit. Ces principes, quon qualioit de systme nouveau, ne lui paroissoient que les maximes du plus simple bon sens. Tout ce prtendu systme toit appuy sur cette maxime, quen general tout homme connoit mieux son propre intrt quun autre homme qui cet intrt est entirement indiffrent* . De l M. de Gournay concluoit, que lorsque lintrt des particuliers est prcisment le mme que lintrt general, ce quon peut faire de mieux est de laisser chaque homme libre de faire ce quil veut.Or il trouvoit impossible que dans le commerce abandonn luimeme, lintrt particulier ne concourt pas avec lintrt gnral.(pp. 334, 335, 336.) In mentioning M. de Gournays opinion on the subject of taxation, M. Turgot does not take any notice of the source from which he derived it. But on this head (whatever may be thought of the justness of that opinion) there can be no doubt among those who are acquainted with the writings of Locke and of Vanderlint. Il pensoit (says Turgot) que tous les impts, sont en derniere analyse, toujours pays par le propritaire, qui vend dautant moins les produits de sa terre, et que si tous les impts toient rpartis sur les fonds, les propritaires et le royaume y gagneroient tout ce qu absorbent les fraix de rgie, toute la consommation ou lemploi strile des hommes perdus, soit percevoir les impts, soit faire la contrebande, soit lempecher, sans compter la prodigieuse augmentation des richesses et des valeurs rsultantes de laugmentation du commerce.(pp. 350, 351.) In a note upon this passage by the Editor, this project of a territorial tax, together with that of a free trade, are mentioned among the most important points in which Gournay and Quesnay agreed perfectly together : and it is not a little curious, that the same two doctrines should have been combined together as parts of the same system, in the Treatise of Vanderlint, published almost twenty years before. It does not appear from Turgots account of M. de Gournay, that any of his original works were ever published; nor have I heard that he was known even in the capacity of a translator, prior to 1752. Il eut le bonheur (says M. Turgot) de rencontrer dans M. Trudaine, le mme amour de la vrit et du bien public qui lanimoit; comme il navoit encore dvelopp ses princi-

70

pes que par occasion, dans la discussion des affaires ou dans la conversation, M. Trudaine lengagea donner comme une espce de corps de sa doctrine; et cest dans cette vue quil a traduit, en 1752, les traits sur le commerce et sur lintrt de largent, de Josias Child et de Thomas Culpepper.(p. 354.) I quote this passage, because it enables me to correct an inaccuracy in point of dates, which has excaped the learned and ingenious writer to whom we are indebted for the rst complete edition which has yet appeared of Turgots works. After dividing the Economists into two schools, that of Gournay, and that of Quesnay, he classes under the former denomination (among some other very illustrious names), Mr David Hume; whose Political Discourses, I must take the liberty of remarking, were published as early as 1752, the very year when M. Gournay published his translations of Child and of Culpepper. The same writer afterwards adds: Entre ces deux coles, protant de lune et de lautre, mais vitant avec soin de parotre tenir aucune, se sont levs quelques philosophes clectiques, la tte desquels il faut placer M. Turgot, lAbb de Condillac, et le clbre Adam Smith; et parmi lesquels on doit compter trshonorablement le traducteur de celuici, M. le Snateur Germain Garnier, en Angleterre my Lord Landsdown, Paris M. Say. Genve M. Simonde. How far Mr Smith has availed himself of the writings of the Economists in his Wealth of Nations, it is not my present business to examine. All that I wish to establish is, his indisputable claim to the same opinions which he professed in common with them, several years before the names of either Gournay or of Quesnay were at all heard of in the republic of letters. With respect to a very distinguished and enlightened English statesman,7 who is here included along with Mr Smith among the eclectic disciples of Gournay and of Quesnay, I am enabled to state, from his own authority, the accidental circumstance which rst led him into this train of thought. In a letter which I had the honour to receive from his Lordship in 1795, he expresses himself thus: I owe to a journey I made with Mr Smith from Edinburgh to London, the difference between light and darkness through the best part of my life. The novelty of his principles, added to my youth and prejudices, made me unable to comprehend them at the time, but he urged them with so much benevolence, as well as eloquence, that they took a certain hold, which, though it did not develope itself so as to arrive at full conviction for some few years after, I can fairly say, has constituted, ever since, the happiness of my life, as well as any little consideration I may have enjoyed in it. As the current of public opinion, at a particular period (or at least the prevailing habits of study), may be pretty accurately judged of by the books which were then chiey in demand, it may be worth mentioning, before I conclude this note, that in the year 1751 (the same year in which Mr Smith was promoted to his professorship), several of our choicest tracts on subjects connected with political economy were republished by Robert and Andrew Foulis, printers to the University of Glasgow. A book of Mr Laws entitled, Proposals and Reasons for constituting a Council of Trade in Scotland, etc. reprinted in that year, is now lying before me; from which it appears, that the following works had recently issued from the university press:Childs Discourse of Trade; Laws Essay on Money and Trade; Gees Trade and Navigation of Great Britain consid71

ered; and Berkeleys Querist. In the same list, Sir William Pettys Political Arithmetic is advertised as being then in the press. Mr Smiths Lectures, it must be remembered (to the fame of which he owed his appointment at Glasgow), were read at Edinburgh as early as 1748. Note (J.), p. 323 Among the questionable doctrines to which Mr Smith has lent the sanction of his name, there is perhaps none that involves so many important consequences as the opinion he has maintained concerning the expediency of legal restrictions on the rate of interest. The inconclusiveness of his reasoning on this point, has been evinced, with a singular degree of logical acuteness, by Mr Bentham, in a short treatise entitled A Defence of Usury;8 a performance to which (notwithstanding the long interval that has elapsed since the date of its publication), I do not know that any answer has yet been attempted; and which a late writer, eminently acquainted with the operations of commerce, has pronounced (and, in my opinion, with great truth), to be perfectly unanswerable* . It is a remarkable circumstance, that Mr Smith should, in this solitary instance, have adopted, on such slight grounds, a conclusion so strikingly contrasted with the general spirit of his political discussions, and so manifestly at variance with the fundamental principles which, on other occasions, he has so boldly followed out, through all their practical applications. This is the more surprising, as the French Economists had, a few years before, obviated the most plausible objections which are apt to present themselves against this extension of the doctrine of commercial freedom. See, in particular, some observations in M. Turgots Reections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches; and a separate Essay, by the same author, entitled, Mmoire sur le prt intert, et sur le Commerce des Fers . Upon this particular question, however, as well as upon those mentioned in the preceding Note, I must be allowed to assert the prior claims of our own countrymen to those of the Economists. From a memoir presented by the celebrated Mr Law (before his elevation to the ministry), to the Regent Duke of Orleans, that very ingenious writer appears to have held the same opinion with M. Turgot; and the arguments he employs in support of it are expressed with that clearness and conciseness which, in general, distinguish his compositions. The memoir to which I refer is to be found in a French work entitled, Recherches et Considrations sur les Finances de France, depuis 1595 jusquen 1721. (See Vol. VI. p. 181. Edit. printed at Lige, 1758.) In the same volume, this doctrine is ascribed by the editor, to Mr Law as its author, or, at least, as its rst broacher in France. Une opinion apporte en France pour la premire fois par M. Law, cest que letat ne doit jamais donner de rglemens sur le taux de lintert.p. 64. To this opinion Law appears evidently to have been led by Locke, whose reasonings (although he himself declares in favour of a legal rate of interest), seem, all of them, to point at the opposite conclusion. Indeed the apology he suggests for the existing regulations is so triing and so slightly urged, that one would almost suppose he was prevented merely by a respect for established prejudices, from pushing his argument to its full extent. The passage I allude to, consider-

72

ing the period when it was written, does no small credit to Lockes sagacity.(See the folio edit. of his Works <1714>, Vol. II. p. 31, et seq.) I would not have entered here into the historical details contained in the two last Notes, if I had not been anxious to obviate the effect of that weak, but inveterate prejudice which shuts the eyes of so many against the most manifest and important truths, when they are supposed to proceed from an obnoxious quarter. The leading opinions which the French Economists embodied and systematized were, in fact, all of British origin; and most of them follow as necessary consequences, from a maxim of natural law, which (according to Lord Coke), is identied with the rst principles of English jurisprudence. La loi de la libert entire de tout commerce est un corollaire du droit de proprit. The truly exceptionable part of the economical system (as I have elsewhere remarked), is that which relates to the power of the Sovereign. Its original authors and patrons were the decided opposers of political liberty, and, in their zeal for the right of property and the freedom of commerce, lost sight of the only means by which either the one or the other can be effectually protected. Note (K.), p. 326 In the early part of Mr Smiths life it is well known to his friends, that he was for several years attached to a young lady of great beauty and accomplishment. How far his addresses were favourably received, or what the circumstances were which prevented their union, I have not been able to learn; but I believe it is pretty certain that, after this disappointment, he laid aside all thoughts of marriage. The lady to whom I allude died also unmarried. She survived Mr Smith for a considerable number of years, and was alive long after the publication of the rst edition of this Memoir. I had the pleasure of seeing her when she was turned of eighty, and when she still retained evident traces of her former beauty. The powers of her understanding and the gaiety of her temper seemed to have suffered nothing from the hand of time. End of the notes P.S. Soon after the foregoing account of Mr Smith was read before the Royal Society, a Volume of his Posthumous Essays was published by his executors and friends, Dr Black and Dr Hutton. In this volume are contained three Essays on the Principles which lead and direct Philosophical Inquiries;illustrated, in the rst place, by the History of Astronomy; in the second, by the History of the Ancient Physics; in the third, by the History of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics. To these are subjoined three other Essays;on the Imitative Arts; on the Afnity between certain English and Italian Verses; and on the External Senses. The greater part of them appear (as is observed in an advertisement subscribed by the Editors) to be parts of a plan the Author had once formed, for giving a connected history of the liberal sciences and elegant
73

arts.This plan (we are informed by the same authority) he had long abandoned as far too extensive; and these parts of it lay beside him neglected till his death. As this posthumous volume did not appear till after the publication of the foregoing Memoir, it would be foreign to the design of these Notes, to offer any observations on the different Essays which it contains. Their merits were certainly not overrated by the two illustrious editors, when they expressed their hopes, that the reader would nd in them that happy connection, that full and accurate expression, and that clear illustration which are conspicuous in the rest of the authors works; and that, though it is difcult to add much to the great fame he so justly acquired by his other writings, these would be read with satisfaction and pleasure. The three rst Essays, more particularly the fragment on the History of Astronomy, are perhaps as strongly marked as any of his most nished compositions, with the peculiar characteristics of his rich, original, and comprehensive mind. In order to obviate a cavil which may possibly occur to some of those readers who were not personally acquainted with Mr Smith, I shall take this opportunity of mentioning, that in suppressing, through the course of the foregoing narrative, his honorary title of LL. D. (which was conferred on him by the University of Glasgow a very short time before he resigned his Professorship), I have complied not only with his own taste, but with the uniform practice of that circle in which I had the happiness of enjoying his society. To have given him, so soon after his death, a designation, which he never assumed but on the titlepages of his books; and by which he is never mentioned in the letters of Mr Hume and of his other most intimate friends, would have subjected me justly to the charge of affection from the audience before whom my paper was read; but the truth is (so little was my ear then accustomed to the name of Doctor Smith), that I was altogether unconscious of the omission, till it was pointed out to me, several years afterwards, as a circumstance which, however triing, had been magnied by more than one critic, into a subject of grave animadversion. Endnotes [In the original Glasgow edition there were footnotes within footnotes which are difcult to reproduce here. As the editor Ross notes, asterisks and daggers are Stewarts notes, 5 after a note indicates that it comes from Hamiltons 1858 edition, superscript letters refer the reader to textual notes preserving substantive readings from the editions of 1794 and 1795, identied as 1 and 2.] Notes for Section 1 [* ]Mr Smith, the father, was a native of Aberdeenshire, and, in the earlier part of his life, practised at Edinburgh as a writer to the signet. He was afterwards private secretary to the Earl of Loudoun (during the time he held the ofces of principal secretary of state for Scotland, and of

74

keeper of the great seal), and continued in this situation till 1713 or 1714, when he was appointed comptroller of the customs at Kirkaldy. He was also clerk to the courtsmartial and councils of war for Scotland; an ofce which he held from 1707 till his death. As it is now seventy years since he died, the accounts I have received of him are very imperfect; but, from the particulars already mentioned, it may be presumed, that he was a man of more than common abilities. [* ]See Note (A.) [ ]George Drysdale, Esq. of Kirkaldy, brother of the late Dr Drysdale. [ ]As the word exhibitioner has misled a French author, to whose critical acquaintance with the English language I am indebted for a very elegant translation of this memoir, I think it proper to mention, that it is used here to denote a student who enjoys a salary to assist him in carrying on his academical education. The word Exhibition (says Johnson) is much used for pensions allowed to scholars at the university.In the translation above referred to, as well as in the Notice prexed to M. Garniers translation of the Wealth of Nations, the clause in the text is thus rendered: il entra au college de Baliol Oxford, en qualit de dmonstrateur de la fondation de Snell. With respect to Snells foundation (the largest, perhaps, and most liberal in Britain), see the Statistical Account of the University of Glasgow aby Dr. Thomas Reida . [aby Dr. Thomas Reida]added in 5 [* ]Redargutio Philosophiarum. (Although he had not taken up politics, he was by nature and entire disposition inclined towards civil affairs, and his talents tended chiey in that direction; nor was he particularly concerned about Natural Philosophy, except to the degree it should sufce for maintaining the good name and fame of Philosopher, and adding to moral and civil disciplines and shedding on them a kind of majesty.) [ ]See Note (B.) [* ]The uncommon degree in which Mr Smith retained possession, even to the close of his life, of different branches of knowledge which he had long ceased to cultivate, has been often remarked to me by my learned colleague and friend, Mr Dalzel, Professor of Greek in this University.Mr Dalzel mentioned particularly the readiness and correctness of Mr Smiths memory on philological subjects, and the acuteness and skill he displayed in various conversations with him on some of the minutiae of Greek grammar. [* ]Mr. Millar, the late celebrated Professor of Law in the University of Glasgow. [See the editors Introduction, 265, above.] [1 ][See above, 172, 229, 242n.] [2 ][See below, V.10, where Stewart cites Smiths letter to the Principal of the University accepting the ofce of Rector.] [3 ][And see below, Note D.]

75

[4 ][Dugald Stewart comments further on this subject below, II.50. Millar himself observed in his Historical View of the English Government (1787; ed. in 4 vols., 1803): I am happy to acknowledge the obligations I feel myself under to this illustrious philosopher, by having, at an early period of life, had the benet of hearing his lectures on the History of Civil Society, and of enjoying his unreserved conversation on the same subject. The great Montesquieu pointed out the road. He was the Lord Bacon in this branch of philosophy. Dr. Smith is the Newton. H.V.ii.429 30n.] [5 ][The promise was recalled in the advertisement to the 6th edition of TMS (1790) where Smith also observed that he was now unlikely to full it. The subject is treated in LJ and also to a considerable extent in WN III and V.] [6 ][Smith throws some light on this statement in LRBL ii.1256 (ed. Lothian, 1367), when discussing didactic eloquence, where the design of the writer is to lay down a proposition and prove this by the different arguments that lead to that conclusion . . . But it will often happen that, in order to prove the capitall proposition, it will be necessary to prove severall subordinate ones . . . We are to observe however, that these subordinate propositions should not be above 5 at most. When they exceed this number, the mind cannot easily comprehend them at one view, and the whole runs into confusion. Three, or thereabout, is a very proper number . . .] [7 ][In Astronomy, IV.34, Smith refers to that love of paradox, so natural to the learned.] [8 ][See above, 232 ff. The quotation is not quite exact.] [9 ][First published in Philological Miscellany (1761) and included in ed. 3 of TMS (1767). Stewart himself states that he believed the work was rst appended to ed. 2 (1761); below, II.44.] Notes for Section 2 [aa]has 5 [1 ][TMS VII.1.1.] [2 ][TMS VII.iii.2.] [3 ][TMS VII.iii.3.] [4 ][TMS IV.12.] [bb]consists of two parts. In the former, he explains in what manner we learn to judge of the conduct of our neighbour; in the latter, in what manner, by applying these judgments to ourselves, we acquire a sense of duty. 12 [5 ](TMS I.i.1.3.) [6 ](TMS I.i.1.4.) [7 ][The words for example do not occur in the actual text of TMS, nor is the punctuation of this quotation exact.]

76

[8 ][A complete sentence is omitted at this point.] [9 ](TMS I.i.3.4.) [10 ](TMS I.ii.3.1. The punctuation does not exactly follow the printed text.) [11 ][The quotation omits the words ; of all the sentiments which can enter the human breast the most dreadful.] [12 ](TMS II.ii.2.3.) [13 ][TMS reads: according to the foregoing system.] [14 ][TMS reads: four sources, which are in some respects different from one another.] [15 ][TMS reads last of all.] [16 ][TMS reads or of the society.] [17 ][TMS VII.iii.3.16. The punctuation does not exactly follow the printed texts.] [18 ](Ibid.) [* ]cSee Note (C.)c [c]added in 5 [19 ][The quotation runs together passages from the second and concluding sentences of TMS VII.ii.4.14, and does not follow the punctuation or spelling of the printed text exactly.] [* ]dSee the letter quoted in Note (D.)d [d]added in 5 [ee]texture 1 [20 ](In fact ed. 3. See above, I.26 and note.) [* ]See his Natural History of Religion. [Stewart also commented on the distinctive nature of natural history in his Account of the Life and Writings of William Robertson, D.D. where he remarked on: the ability and address with which he has treated some topics that did not fall within the ordinary sphere of his studies, more especially those which border on the province of the natural historian. Works, x (1858), 156.] [21 ][First published in 1758, i.e. after the composition of the Astronomy; see above, 7.] [22 ][See above, I.19 and note 4.] [23 ][While Montesquieu does not neglect time in L Esprit, it is more a feature of his Considrations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur dcadence (1734).] [24 ][Stewart returned to this theme in his Account of the Life and Writings of William Robertson, D.D. read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 21 March 1796: It will not, I hope, be imputed to me as a blameable instance of national vanity, if I conclude this
77

Section with remarking the rapid progress that has been made in our own country during the last fty years, in tracing the origin and progress of the present establishments in Europe. Montesquieu undoubtedly led the way, but much has been done since the publication of his works, by authors whose names are enrolled among the members of this Society. Stewart no doubt had in view Hume, Robertson, Smith, and Adam Ferguson. Works, x (1858), 147.] [25 ][First published in 1758.] [26 ](John Millar, The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (1771; ed. 3, 1779): An Historical View of the English Government (1787; ed. in 4 vols., 1803).) [27 ][WN III.] [28 ](The corrected text is published in Corr., Letter 31.) [* ]Published afterwards under the title of An Essay on the History of Civil Society. (1767) [29 ](Persius, Satires, i.57: If confused Rome makes light of anything, do not go up and correct the deceitful tongue in that balance of theirs, or look to anyone except yourself.) Notes for Section III [* ]I mention this fact on the respectable authority of James Ritchie, Esq. of Glasgow. [1 ][See above, I.4 and Note A. Dugald Stewart also pointed out with regard to the division of factor rewards into wages, rent, and prot that: It appears from a manuscript of Mr. Smiths now in my own possession, that the foregoing analysis or division was rst suggested to him by Mr. Oswald of Dunnikier. Works, ix (1856), 6.] [* ]The day after his arrival at Paris, Mr Smith sent a formal resignation of his Professorship to the Rector of the University of Glasgow. I never was more anxious (says he in the conclusion of this letter) 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 ofce 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. (Corr., Letter 81.) The following extract from the records of the University, which follows immediately after Mr Smiths letter of resignation, is at once a testimony to his assiduity as a Professor, and a proof of the just sense which that learned body entertained of the talents and worth of the colleague they had lost: The meeting accept of Dr Smiths resignation, in terms of the above letter, and the ofce of Professor of Moral Philosophy in this University is therefore hereby declared to be vacant. The University, at the same time, cannot help expressing their sincere regret at the removal of Dr Smith, whose distinguished probity and amiable qualities procured him the esteem and affection of his colleagues; and whose uncommon genius, great abilities, and extensive learning, did so much

78

honour to this society; his elegant and ingenious Theory of Moral Sentiments having recommended him to the esteem of men of taste and literature throughout Europe. His happy talent in illustrating abstracted subjects, and faithful assiduity in communicating useful knowledge, distinguished him as a Professor, and at once afforded the greatest pleasure and the most important instruction to the youth under his care. [Scott, ASSP, 221.] [ ]See note (E.) [aa]Authors last additions [2 ](Corr., Letter 96.) [* ]The following letter, which has been very accidentally preserved, while it serves as a memorial of Mr Smiths connection with the family of Rochefoucauld, is so expressive of the virtuous and liberal mind of the writer, that I am persuaded it will give pleasure to the Society to record it in their Transactions. (Corr., Letter 194.) Paris, 3. Mars 1778. Le desir de se rappeller votre souvenir, Monsieur, quand on a eu lhonneur de vous connotre, doit vous paroitre fort naturel; permettez que nous saisissions pour cela, ma Mre et moi, loccasion dune edition nouvelle des Maximes de la Rochefoucauld, dont nous prenons la libert de vous offrir un exemplaire. Vous voyez que nous navons point de rancune, puisque le mal que vous avez dit de lui dans la Thorie des Sentimens Moraux, ne nous empche point de vous envoyer ce mme ouvrage. Il sen est mme fallu de peu que je ne sse encore plus, car javois eu peuttre la tmrit dentreprendre une traduction de votre Thorie; mais comme je venois de terminer la premire partie, jai vu parotre la traduction de M. lAbb Blavet, et jai t forc de renoncer au plaisir que jaurois eu de faire passer dans ma langue un des meilleurs ouvrages de la vtre . Il auroit bien fallu pour lors entreprendre une justication de mon grandpre. Peuttre nauroitil pas t difcile, premirement de lexcuser, en disant, quil avoit toujours vu les hommes la Cour, et dans la guerre civile, deux thatres sur lesquels ils sont certainement plus mauvais quailleurs; et ensuite de justier par la conduite personelle de lauteur, les principes qui sont certainement trop gnraliss dans son ouvrage. Il a pris la partie pour le tout; et parceque les gens quil avoit eu le plus sous les yeux toient anims par lamour propre, il en a fait le mobile gnral de tous les hommes. Au reste, quoique son ouvrage merite certains gards dtre combattu, il est cependant estimable mme pour le fond, et beaucoup pour la forme. Permettezmoi de vous demander, si nous aurons bientt une dition complette des uvres de votre illustre ami M. Hume? Nous lavons sincrement regrett. Recevez, je vous supplie, lexpression sincre de tous les sentimens destime et dattachement avec lesquels jai lhonneur dtre, Monsieur, votre trs humble et trs obeissant serviteur.

79

Le Duc de la Rochefoucauld. Mr Smiths last intercourse with this excellent man was in the year 1789, when he informed him, by means of a friend who happened to be then at Paris, that in the future editions of his Theory the name of Rochefoucauld should be no longer classed with that of Mandeville. In the enlarged edition, accordingly, of that work, published a short time before his death, he has suppressed his censure of the author of the Maximes; who seems indeed (however exceptionable many of his principles may be) to have been actuated, both in his life and writings, by motives very different from those of Mandeville. The real scope of these maxims is placed, I think, in a just light by the ingenious author of the notice prexed to the edition of them published at Paris in 1778. (The friend above mentioned was Dugald Stewart himself.) []See Note (F.) [bb]DEnville, 5 [cc]Authors last additions [3 ][The relations between Turgot and Smith are explored in P. D. Groenewegen, Turgot and Adam Smith, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, xvi (1969). See also Corr., Letters 93 and 248.] [4 ](WN IV.ix.38.) [See also Corr., Letters 94 and 97. In the latter place Smith described Quesnay as 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 condent of Madame Pompadour a woman who was no contemptible Judge of merit. Smith comments at length on physiocratic teaching in WN IV.ix.] [* ]See the Preface to Voltaires Oedipe, edit. of 1729. [5 ](WN IV.ix.38. The quotation occurs at the beginning of the paragraph.) [6 ][See, for example, Imitative Arts, I.16.] [7 ][Rae, Life, 35, records that Boswell had acquainted Johnson with Smiths preference for rhyme over blank verse always, no doubt, on the same principle that the greater the difculty the greater the beauty. This delighted the heart of Johnson, and he said: Sir, I was once in company with Smith, and we did not take to each other, but had I known that he loved rhyme as much as you tell me he does, I should have hugged him.] [d]the rst part of which is, in my judgment, more nished in point of style than any of his compositions; added in 1 [8 ](My Own Life.) [9 ](Corr., Letter 129.) [10 ](Corr., Letter 121.) [11 ](Corr., Letter 150.)

80

[12 ][The quotation omits: ; which, till you tell me the contrary, I shall still atter myself with soon.] Notes for Section IV [* ]The length to which this Memoir has already extended, together with some other reasons which it is unnecessary to mention here, have induced me, in printing the following section, to conne myself to a much more general view of the subject than I once intended. See Note (G.) [1 ][See above, II. 4552.] [2 ][Stewarts view seems to be quite different from that of Smith himself. See Astronomy, I II.] [3 ][See I.20 above, where the term is used by Millar in describing Smiths lectures on economics.] [* ]See the conclusion of his Theory of Moral Sentiments. (VII.iv.37.) [aa]Authors last additions [4 ][While not neglecting Smiths analytical achievement, e.g. 27 below, Stewarts preoccupation with policy may explain his defence of Smiths originality in terms of the doctrine of natural liberty at 23 and 25.] [* ]Science de la Legislation, par le Chev. Filangieri, Liv. i. chap. 13. [5 ](Exemplum Tractatus de Fontibus Juris, Aphor. 5: The ultimate object which legislators ought to have in view, and to which all their enactments and sanctions ought to be subservient, is, that the citizens may live happily. For this purpose, it is necessary that they should receive a religious and pious education; that they should be trained to good morals; that they should be secured from foreign enemies by proper military arrangements; that they should be guarded by an effectual policy against seditions and private injuries; that they should be loyal to government, and obedient to magistrates; and nally, that they should abound in wealth, and in other national resources. De Augmentis Scientiarum, lib. viii. cap. iii: The science of such matters certainly belongs more particularly to the province of men who, by habits of public business, have been led to take a comprehensive survey of the social order; of the interests of the community at large; of the rules of natural equity; of the manners of nations; of the different forms of government; and who are thus prepared to reason concerning the wisdom of laws, both from considerations of justice and of policy. The great desideratum, accordingly, is, by investigating the principles of natural justice, and those of political expediency, to exhibit a theoretical model of legislation, which, while it serves as a standard for estimating the comparative excellence of municipal codes, may suggest hints for their correction and improvement, to such as have at heart the welfare of mankind. Stewarts translation, from Works, i. 712.) [6 ](De Fontibus Juris, Aphor. 6: Laws of Laws from which we can determine what is right or wrong in the appointments of each individual law. Stewart, Works, xi.2.)
81

[bb]artisan 5 [7 ][See, for example, WN III and especially III. iv together with the notes to the Glasgow edition. For comment, see A. Skinner. Adam Smith: An Economic Interpretation of History, and D. Forbes, Sceptical Whiggism, Commerce, and Liberty, in Essays on Adam Smith. The point made in the text was repeated by John Millar, Historical View, iv.124.] [8 ][See WN V.i.f.51 and this section generally, i.e. Of the Expence of the Institutions for the Education of Youth.] [9 ][Essays Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Green and Grose (1882), i.291. The quotation reads: contrary to the more natural and usual course of things.] [c]A distinct analysis of his work might indeed be useful to many readers; but it would itself form a volume of considerable magnitude. I may perhaps, at some future period, present to the Society, an attempt towards such an analysis, which I began long ago, for my own satisfaction, and which I lately made considerable progress in preparing for the press, before I was aware of the impossibility of connecting it, with the general plan of this paper. In the mean time 12 (See the article Smith, Adam, in the Index to Stewart, Works, xi, for references to analysis of parts of WN.) [10 ][This statement, together with the broadly liberal sentiments of the preceding paragraphs, may bear upon Stewarts own experience. See for example, Works x. xlviliv.] [11 ][See, for example, WN V.i.f.50.] [12 ][WN IV.ix.51.] [13 ][WN IV.ix.50.] [14 ][Smith makes this point in WN II.v.37, drawing attention to the two following books.] [15 ][The title of WN IV.i. In the introduction to this book, the commercial system is described as the modern system, and is best understood in our own country and in our own times.] [16 ][WN IV.i.35.] [17 ][See, for example, the conclusion of WN IV.iii.a.1.] [18 ][WN IV.iii.c.8. The quotation occurs at the end of the paragraph and reads are thus erected.] [19 ][The original reads By such maxims as these, however, . . ..] [20 ][The original text reads for which, I am afraid, the nature . . ..] [21 ](WN IV.iii.c.9.) [22 ][The original reads Such are the unfortunate effects of all the regulations of the mercantile system! They not only . . ..]

82

[23 ][The original continues the colony trade ought gradually to be opened; what are the restraints which ought rst, and what are those which ought last to be taken away; or in what manner.] [24 ](WN IV.vii.c.44.) [25 ][The original reads still more those . . ..] [26 ](TMS VI.ii.2.16.) [* ]Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, p.261. (Stewart, Works, ii.240.) [27 ](Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth, Essays Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Green and Grose, i.481.) [28 ][Not perhaps a wholly fair assessment of WN. ix: cf. A. Skinner, Adam Smith: The Development of a System, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, xxiii (1976).] [* ]See Note (H.) [ ]In proof of this, it is sufcient for me to appeal to a short history of the progress of political economy in France, published in one of the volumes of Ephmrides du Citoyen. See the rst part of the volume for the year 1769. The paper is entitled, Notice abrge des diffrens Ecrits modernes, qui ont concouru en France former la science de lconomie politique. [29 ][It is pointed out above (III.5), however, that contact with the physiocrats could not fail to assist him in methodizing and digesting his speculations.] [* ]See Note (I.) [30 ][Possibly a reference to sentiments which Smith was known to have expressed. In LJ(B) 253 (ed. Cannan, 197), for example, Smith refers to the ingenuity of Humes reasoning on the subject of money, while noting that: He seems however to have gone a little into the notion that public opulence consists in money.] [31 ][Scott comments on this paper in ASSP, 117 ff.] [32 ][Smith writes briey of plagiarism, but with no especial warmth of feeling, in TMS III.2.15: A weak man . . . pretends to have done what he never did, to have written what another wrote, to have invented what another discovered; and is led into all the miserable vices of plagiarism and common lying. See also TMS VII.ii.4.8: the foolish plagiary who gives himself out for the author of what he has no pretensions to is properly accused of vanity.] [33 ][Cf. Scott, ASSP, 11820.] [34 ][A rather similar judgement of TMS is given in Note C, 4.] [* ]See Note (J.) [dd]and which is certainly executed in a manner more loose and unsatisfactory than the other parts of his system. 12

83

[35 ](Virgil, Eclogues, ix.50: Graft your pears, Daphnis, your descendants will gather your fruits.) Notes for Section V [* ]See Annual Register for the year 1776. [* ]Some very affecting instances of Mr Smiths benecence, in cases where he found it impossible to conceal entirely his good ofces, have been mentioned to me by a near relation of his, and one of his most condential friends, Miss Ross, daughter of the late Patrick Ross, Esq. of Innernethy. They were all on a scale much beyond what might have been expected from his fortune; and were accompanied with circumstances equally honourable to the delicacy of his feelings and the liberality of his heart. [ ]Mr Smith observed to me, not long before his death, that after all his practice in writing, he composed as slowly, and with as great difculty, as at rst. He added, at the same time, that Mr Hume had acquired so great a facility in this respect, that the last volumes of his History were printed from his original copy, with a few marginal corrections. It may gratify the curiosity of some readers to know, that when Mr Smith was employed in composition, he generally walked up and down his apartment, dictating to a secretary. All Mr Humes works (I have been assured) were written with his own hand. A critical reader may, I think, perceive in the different styles of these two classical writers, the effects of their different modes of study. [ ]See Note (K.) [* ]Since writing the above, I have been favoured by Dr Hutton with the following particulars. Some time before his last illness, when Mr Smith had occasion to go to London, he enjoined his friends, to whom he had entrusted the disposal of his manuscripts, that, in the event of his death, they should destroy all the volumes of his lectures, doing with the rest of his manuscripts what they pleased. When now he had become weak, and saw the approaching period of his life, he spoke to his friends again upon the same subject. They entreated him to make his mind easy, as he might depend upon their fullling his desire. He was then satised. But some days afterwards, nding his anxiety not entirely removed, he begged one of them to destroy the volumes immediately. This accordingly was done; and his mind was so much relieved, that he was able to receive his friends in the evening with his usual complacency. They had been in use to sup with him every Sunday; and that evening there was a pretty numerous meeting of them. Mr Smith not nding himself able to sit up with them as usual, retired to bed before supper; and, as he went away, took leave of his friends by saying, I believe we must adjourn this meeting to some other place. He died a very few days afterwards.

84

Mr Riddell, an intimate friend of Mr Smiths, who was present at one of the conversations on the subject of the manuscripts, mentioned to me, in addition to Dr Huttons note, that Mr Smith regretted he had done so little. But I meant (said he) to have done more; and there are materials in my papers, of which I could have made a great deal. But that is now out of the question. That the idea of destroying such unnished works as might be in his possession at the time of his death, was not the effect of any sudden or hasty resolution, appears from the following letter to Mr Hume, written by Mr Smith in 1773, at a time when he was preparing himself for a journey to London, with the prospect of a pretty long absence from Scotland. My dear Friend, Edinburgh, 16th April 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 publication, 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 judgment, though I begin to suspect myself that there is more renement than solidity in some parts of it. This little work you will nd in a thin folio paper book in my back room. All the other loose papers which you will nd in that desk, or within the glass folding doors of a bureau which stands in my bedroom, together with about eighteen thin paper folio books, which you will likewise nd within the same glass folding doors, I desire to 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, my dear Friend, most faithfully yours, Adam Smith. To David Hume, Esq. St Andrews Square. (The corrected text appears in Corr., Letter 137.) [1 ](Ed. 6, 2 vols. 8vo, 1790.) [2 ](Corr., Letter 274.) [* ]aUltimately a Senator of the College of Justice, under the title of Lord Reston.a [a]added in 5

85

Notes for the Notes to the Life of Adam Smith Note A [1 ](In a note to ed. 1 (94), Stewart acknowledged inaccuracy in mentioning Oswald and Smith as schoolfellows: the former was born in 1715; the latter in 1723. It appears, however, that their intimacy had commenced before Mr Smith went to the University.) Note B [2 ](Institutio Oratoria, XI.iii.8: his speaking appears to have pleased in some manner, which we do not nd in reading.) Note C [* ]aVide <Stewart>, Works, vol. vii, pp. 35, 36, 329, seq., 407, seq.a [a]added in 5 [bb]author 5 [3 ](See Stewart, Works, vi.41214.) [* ]I shall have occasion afterwards to vindicate Mr Smiths claims to originality in the former of these works, against the pretensions of some foreign writers. As I do not mean, however, to recur again to his alleged plagiarisms from the ancients, I shall introduce here, though somewhat out of place, two short quotations; from which it will appear, that the germ of his speculations concerning national wealth, as well as concerning the principles of ethics, is (according to Dr Gillies) to be found in the Greek philosophers. By adopting Aristotles principles on the subjects of exchangeable value, and of national wealth, Dr Smith has rescued the science of political economy from many false subtilties and many gross errors. Vol. I. p. 377, 2d edit. The subject of money is treated above, Vol. I. p. 374, et seq. In that passage, compared with another in the Magna Moralia, we nd the fundamental principles of the modern economists. Vol. II. p. 43. In reply to these observations, I have only to request my readers to compare them with the well known passage in the rst book of Aristotles Politics, with respect to the lawfulness of usury. When we consider how much the interest of money enters as an element into all our modern disquisitions concerning commercial policy, is it possible to imagine, that there should be any thing more than the most general and fortuitous coincidence between the reasonings of such writers as Smith, or Hume, or Turgot; and those of an author whose experience of the nature
86

and effects of commerce was so limited, as to impress his mind with a conviction, that to receive a premium for the use of money was inconsistent with the rules of morality? cCompare the subsequent edition of Gilliess Ethics and Politics of Aristotle.c [cCompare the subsequent edition of Gilliess Ethics and Politics of Aristotle.c]added in 5 Note D [* ]Probably William Ward, A.M. master of the Grammar School of Beverley, Yorkshire, who, among other grammatical works, published An Essay on Grammar as it may be applied to the English Language, in two Treatises, etc., 410, 1765, which is perhaps the most philosophical Essay on the English language extant. [d]This Note was added in 5 [4 ](Corr., Letter 69.) Note E [e]This Note was added in 5 (It was appended in manuscript to one of Stewarts own copies of this Memoir: Edinburgh University Library, MS. Df.4.52*. See the editors Introduction, 2678, above.) Note F [ff]added in 5 Note G [5 ](See John Veitch, Memoir of Stewart, in Stewart, Works, x. lxxlxxv.) Note I [* ]gIn regard to Adam Smiths originality on various points of Political Economy, I may refer, in general, to Vols. VIII and IX (of Stewarts Works), in which Mr. Stewarts Lectures on this science are contained. See also in Vol. IX, art. Smith, Adam, etc., of the Index.g [g]added in 5 [* ]That the writers of this Island should have had the start of those in the greater part of Europe, in adopting enlightened ideas concerning commerce, will not appear surprising, when we consider that according to the Common Law of England, the freedom of trade is the birthright of the subject. For the opinions of Lord Coke and of Lord ChiefJustice Fortescue, on this point, see a pamphlet by Lord Lauderdale, entitled, Hints to the Manufacturers of Great Brit87

ain, etc. (printed in 1805); where also may be found a list of statutes containing recognitions and declarations of the above principle. [ ]According to the statement of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the following doctrine was delivered in the English House of Commons by Sir Thomas More (then speaker), almost three centuries ago. I say condently, you need not fear this penury or scarceness of money; the intercourse of things being so establishd throughout the whole world, that there is a perpetual derivation of all that can be necessary to mankind. Thus, your commodities will ever nd out money; while, not to go far, I shall produce our own merchants only, who, (let me assure you) will be always as glad of your corn and cattel as you can be of any thing they bring you.The Life and Reign of King Henry the Eighth, London, 1672, p. 135. It is not a little discouraging to reect, that the mercantile prejudice here combated by this great man, has not yet yielded entirely to all the philosophical lights of the 18th century. [* ]Money Answers all Things, etc. etc. London, 1734. [* ]Lord Lauderdale has traced some hints of what are commonly considered as the peculiarities of the economical system, in various British publications now almost forgotten. The following extract, from a Treatise published by Mr Asgill, in 1696, breathes the very spirit of Quesnays philosophy. What we call commodities is nothing but land severed from the soil. Man deals in nothing but earth. The merchants are the factors of the world, to exchange one part of the earth for another. The king himself is fed by the labour of the ox: and the clothing of the army, and victualling of the navy, must all be paid for to the owner of the soil as the ultimate receive. All things in the world are originally the produce of the ground, and there must all things be raised.(Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth, p. 113.) The title of Asgills Treatise is, Several assertions proved, in order to create another species of Money than Gold. Its object was to support Dr Chamberlaynes proposition for a Land Bank, which he laid before the English House of Commons in 1693, and before the Scottish Parliament in 1703. [* ]It is but justice to the Economists to add, that they have laid more stress than any other class of writers whatsoever, on the principles of political economy, considered in their connection with the intellectual and moral character of a people. [* ]Some of these liberal principles found their way into France before the end of the 17th century.See a very curious book entitled, Le Dtail de la France sous le Rgne Prsent. The rst edition (which I have never met with), appeared in 1698 or 1699; the second was printed in 1707. Both editions are anonymous; but the author is well known to have been M. de BoisGuilbert; to whom Voltaire has also (erroneously) ascribed the Projet dune dixme Royale, published in the name of the Marchal de Vauban. (See the Ephmrides du Citoyen for the year 1769, Tome IX. pp. 12, 13.)
88

The fortunate expression, laissez nous faire, which an old merchant (Le Gendre) is said to have used in a conversation with Colbert; and the still more signicant maxim of the Marquis dArgenson, pas trop gouverner, are indebted chiey for that proverbial celebrity which they have now acquired, to the accidental lustre reected upon them by the discussions of more modern times. They must, at the same time, be allowed to evince in their authors, a clear perception of the importance of a problem, which Mr Burke has somewhere pronounced to be one of the nest in legislation;to ascertain, what the state ought to take upon itself to direct by the public wisdom; and what it ought to leave, with as little interference as possible, to individual discretion.6 The solution of this problem, in some of its most interesting cases, may be regarded as one of the principal objects of Mr Smiths Inquiry; and, among the many happy changes which that work has gradually produced in prevailing opinions, none is, perhaps, of greater consequence, than its powerful effect in discrediting that empirical spirit of tampering Regulation, which the multitude is so apt to mistake for the provident sagacity of political experience. [6](The reference to Burke is to his Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, originally presented to the Right Hon. William Pitt (1795). Works (1802), iv.287.) [* ]I have endeavoured, in a former work, to vindicate, upon the very same principle, some of Mr Smiths political speculations against the charge of being founded rather on theory than on actual experience. I was not aware, till very lately, that this view of the subject had been sanctioned by such high authorities as M. de Gournay and M. Turgot.See Philosophy of the Human Mind, pp. 254, 255, 256, 3d edit. hchap. iv 8: <Stewart>, Works, Vol. II. p. 235 seq.h [ ]Ceci est, avec la libert du commerce et du travail, un des principaux points sur lesquels M. de Gournay et M. Quesnay ont t complettement daccord. [ ]I have already quoted, from Vanderlint, his opinion about the freedom of trade. His ideas with respect to taxation I shall also state in his own words: I cant dismiss this head without shewing, that if all the taxes were taken off goods, and levied on lands and houses only, the gentlemen would have more nett rent left out of their estates, than they have now when the taxes are almost wholly levied on goods. For his argument in proof of this proposition, see his Essay on Money, p. 109, et seq. See also Lockes Considerations on the lowering of interest and raising the Value of Money; published in 1691. As to the discovery (as it has been called) of the luminous distinction between the produit total and the produit net de la culture, it is not worth while to dispute about its author. Whatever merit this theory of taxation may possess, the whole credit of it evidently belongs to those who rst proposed the doctrine stated in the foregoing paragraph. The calculations of M. Quesnay, however interesting and useful they may have appeared in a country where so great a proportion of the territory was cultivated by Mtayers or Coloni Partiarii, cannot surely be considered as throwing any new light on the general principles of Political Economy. [7 ](First Marquess of Lansdowne and second Earl of Shelburne.)

89

Note J [8 ](Corr., Appendix C, Benthams Letters to Adam Smith, 386404.) [* ]Sir Francis Baring. Pamphlet on the Bank of England. (The full title of this work is: Observations on the Establishment of the Bank of England, 1797.) [ ]In an Essay read before a literary society in Glasgow, some years before the publication of the Wealth of Nations, Dr Reid disputed the expediency of legal restrictions on the rate of interest; founding his opinion on some of the same considerations which were afterwards so forcibly stated by Mr Bentham. His attention had probably been attracted to this question by a very weak defence of these restrictions in Sir James Stewarts Political Economy; a book which had then been recently published, and which (though he differed widely from many of its doctrines), he was accustomed, in his academical lectures, to recommend warmly to his students. It was indeed the only systematical work on the subject that had appeared in our language, previous to Mr Smiths Inquiry. [Sir James Steuarts Principles was rst published in 1767. The defence of regulation of the rate of interest will be found in Book IV, Part I, especially chapters 5 and 6. Dugald Stewart recommended his students to begin their studies with the WN and then to consult Steuarts work as one which contains a great mass of accurate details . . . ascertained by his own personal observation during his long residence on the Continent: Works, ix.458; Principles, ed. A. Skinner (1966), 4n.]

90

INTRODUCTION TO VOL. 1 THE THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS [D.D. RAPHAEL AND A.L. MACFIE]

1. Formation of The Theory of Moral Sentiments


(a) Adam Smiths lectures on ethics The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smiths rst book, was published in 1759 during his tenure of the Chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow. A second, revised edition appeared in 1761. Smith left Glasgow at the beginning of 1764. Editions 3 (1767), 4 (1774), and 5 (1781) of TMS differ little from edition 2. Edition 6, however, published shortly before Smiths death in 1790, contains very extensive additions and other signicant changes. The original work arose from Smiths lectures to students. The revisions in edition 2 were largely the result of criti-

91

cism from philosophically minded friends. The new material in edition 6 was the fruit of long reection by Smith on his wide knowledge of public affairs and his equally wide reading of history. Adam Smith was appointed to the Chair of Logic at Glasgow in 1751 and moved to the Chair of Moral Philosophy in 1752. His predecessor as Professor of Moral Philosophy, Thomas Craigie, was already ill in 1751, and Smith was asked to substitute for him with lectures on natural jurisprudence and politics1 in addition to taking the Logic class. Thereafter Smith gave the whole of the Moral Philosophy course, in which he was expected to deal with natural theology and ethics before proceeding to law and government. In view of the speed with which Smith had to prepare his extensive range of teaching at Glasgow, it was inevitable that he should make use of material already available from a series of public lectures which he had delivered in Edinburgh during the years 174850. These lectures were sponsored especially by Lord Kames. Both Dugald Stewart in a biography of Smith and A. F. Tytler in one of Kames describe the subjectmatter of the Edinburgh lectures simply as rhetoric and belles lettres,2 but it seems that by 1750 Smith also included political and economic theory, presumably under the title of jurisprudence or civil law.3 In a later part of his biography (IV.25), Dugald Stewart refers to a short manuscript written by Adam Smith in 1755, listing certain leading principles, both political and literary, to which he was anxious to establish his exclusive right. Stewart says that they included many of the most important opinions in The Wealth of Nations, and then quotes a few sentences from the manuscript itself. These end with a statement from Smith that a great part of the opinions enumerated in this paper had formed the constant subjects of my lectures since I rst taught Mr. Craigies class, the rst winter I spent in Glasgow, down to this day, without any considerable variation and that they had also been the subjects of lectures which I read at Edinburgh the winter before I left it. A report of the content and character of the early Glasgow lectures, both in the Logic and in the Moral Philosophy class, was given to Stewart by John Millar, Professor of Law at Glasgow, originally a pupil and afterwards a close friend of Smith. In his Logic course Smith despatched the traditional logic rather briskly and then dedicated all the rest of his time to the delivery of a system of rhetoric and belles lettres.4 His Moral Philosophy course could not rely so heavily on the Edinburgh lectures but it will certainly have drawn on them in its latter sections. Millars report to Dugald Stewart gives a detailed description of it. His course of lectures on this subject [Moral Philosophy] was divided into four parts. The rst contained Natural Theology. . . . The second comprehended Ethics strictly so called, and consisted chiey of the doctrines which he afterwards published in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. In the third part, he treated at more length of that branch of morality which relates to justice, . . . Upon this subject he followed the plan that seems to be suggested by Montesquieu; endeavouring to trace the gradual progress of jurisprudence, both public and private, from the rudest to the most rened ages, . . . This important branch of his labours he

92

also intended to give to the public; but this intention, which is mentioned in the conclusion of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, he did not live to full. In the last part of his lectures, he examined those political regulations which are founded, not upon the principle of justice, but that of expediency, and which are calculated to increase the riches, the power, and the prosperity of a State. . . . What he delivered on these subjects contained the substance of the work he afterwards published under the title of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.5 There is no evidence to suggest that the Edinburgh lectures included ethical theory proper, and we must therefore presume that Smiths composition of the subjectmatter of TMS began in 1752 at Glasgow. Millars statement that both of Smiths books arose from his lectures on Moral Philosophy is conrmed by the evidence of James Wodrow, writing (probably in 1808) to the eleventh Earl of Buchan. Adam Smith, whose lectures I had the benet of hearing for a year or two . . . made a laudable attempt at rst to follow Hut[cheso]ns animated manner, lecturing on Ethics without papers, walking up and down his class rooms but not having the same facility in this that Hutn. had, . . . Dr. Smith soon relinquished the attempt, and read with propriety, all the rest of his valuable lectures from the desk. His Theory of Moral Sentiment founded on sympathy, a very ingenious attempt to account for the principal phenomena in the moral world from this one general principle, like that of gravity in the natural world, did not please Hutchesons scholars so well as that to which they had been accustomed. The rest of his lectures were admired by them and by all especially those on Money and Commerce, which contained the substance of his book on the Wealth of Nations. . . .6 Francis Hutcheson was Professor of Moral Philosophy from 1730 to 1746. Smith was his pupil in the late 1730s, Wodrow in the 1740s. Wodrow remained at the University as Keeper of the Library from 1750 to 1755. It seems, then, that the rst published version of TMS was prepared or worked up from the nal form of the second part of Smiths lectures on Moral Philosophy. No doubt there was steady development between 1752 and 1758. Although no copy of a students notes of Smiths lectures on ethics has as yet appeared, there is some evidence from which we can reconstruct his method of improving what he had written. In Appendix II we give reasons for thinking that a fragmentary manuscript of philosophical considerations on justice is a part of Smiths lectures on ethics. Revisions within the manuscript itself and detailed comparison with corresponding passages in TMS show that Smith tended to work over previous composition rather than write a new version. He made minor corrections both of style and of content, he inserted substantial additions, and (when it came to preparing a text for publication) he shufed passages about like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. Exactly the same methods of development can be seen in the changes that Smith made when revising the printed book for edition 2 and for edition 6. There is far more evidence for tracing the genesis of The Wealth of Nations; we have two Reports by students, apparently from
93

successive sessions, of Smiths lectures on jurisprudence, a fairly long manuscript that has been called An early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations, and two fragmentary manuscripts that come much nearer to the text of WN itself. From this material Professor Ronald L. Meek and Mr. Andrew S. Skinner have been able to give an extraordinarily precise account of the development of Smiths thought on a central topic of his economic theory.7 The picture of Smiths working methods that emerges from a comparison of these documents with one another and with WN is similar to that gathered from the more limited evidence for TMS. The printed text at times betrays its origin in lectures. At several points Smith refers back to something he has said on a former occasion, whereas it would be more natural, in a book, to write of an earlier place. Then again, in the nal paragraph of the work he promises to treat of the general theory of jurisprudence in another discourse. One other piece of internal evidence seems to match part of the description of the original Glasgow lectures given to Dugald Stewart by Millar: Each discourse consisted commonly of several distinct propositions, which he successively endeavoured to prove and illustrate.8 Much of Part II of TMS can be said to t this account in a general way, but the rst chapter, II.i.1, illustrates it quite strikingly and would seem, if unrelated to Millars account and the lecture form, a rather odd way of continuing from the more natural mode of discussion in Part I. If this chapter does indeed retain Smiths original method of procedure in his lectures, it is almost unique in this respect and shows that Smith must have commonly recast the actual structure of his lectures for the book, even though he kept most of the words and phrases. The printed text allows a further conjecture about the lectures. The last part of the book seems to originate from material that formed the rst part of the lectures on ethics in their earliest version. Why otherwise should Smith set out here (VII.i.2) the two main problems of ethical theory, as if by way of introduction, when in fact most of his task is already done? It seems probable (and it would accord with his usual method of approaching a subject) that at rst he entered upon ethics with a survey of its history in dealing with the two topics of moral motive and moral judgement. Having carried the history up to the thinkers of his own day, he will have reected upon the differences between the two theories that impressed him most, those of his teacher Hutcheson and his friend Hume. Whether or not he already had denite views of his own on these matters in 1752, it is impossible to say; in any event his account of sympathy and its place in moral judgement will have developed as he gave more attention to the subject. Once it had developed it became the focus of Smiths own distinctive theory of ethics, and at this stage (if our conjecture about the original form of the lectures is correct) Smith will have recast his thoughts, starting off with sympathy, building up his theory from that base, and making the historical survey a sort of appendix. An examination of changes in style might perhaps give some guidance about alterations from the original lecture notes. There is a clear difference in style between much of what Smith wrote for edition 1 and the considerable additions, including the whole of Part VI, which he composed late in life for edition 6. The earlier matter tends to be rhetorical, in tune with the style accepted for lectures in the mideighteenth century, while the later writing is in the more urbane style of
94

WN. Both WN and the additions to TMS were of course written with a direct view to publication. When one remembers the type of classes that Smith addressed as a Professor in Glasgow, the style of the original material can be better understood. Most of the students were of the age of secondary schoolboys today. The number attending the class of public lectures on Moral Philosophy in Smiths time was probably about eighty, many of them being destined for the Church. To hold the attention of his class Smith used rhetorical language and made humorous references to manners of the day in a way likely to interest young people. Of the lectures that Smith delivered in his last four years at Glasgow after the publication of TMS, Stewart (III.1) writes: During that time, the plan of his lectures underwent a considerable change. His ethical doctrines, of which he had now published so valuable a part, occupied a smaller portion of the course than formerly: and accordingly, his attention was naturally directed to a more complete illustration of the principles of jurisprudence and of political oeconomy. The last statement appears to be borne out by the two surviving Reports of the lectures on jurisprudence as delivered in sessions 17623 and 17634. It would be wrong, however, to infer from Stewarts account that Smiths thought on ethics stood still at this time. There is substantial development of his theory in edition 2 of TMS, especially of his notion of the impartial spectator. He can also be seen to apply that concept in the lectures on jurisprudence, so that there is a continuity in his thinking, as indeed Smith himself makes plain at the end of TMS. (b) Inuence of Stoic philosophy Stoic philosophy is the primary inuence on Smiths ethical thought. It also fundamentally affects his economic theory. Like other scholars of his day Smith was well versed in ancient philosophy, and in TMS he often refers as a matter of course to Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero (the last sometimes, but not always, as a source of information about Stoicism). In his survey of the history of moral philosophy in Part VII, however, Stoicism is given far more space than any other system, ancient or modern, and is illustrated by lengthy passages from Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. (The Discourses of Epictetus seem to have been chiey responsible for Smiths early fascination with Stoicism.) In editions 15 of TMS some of this material on the Stoics appears separately in Part I, but the separation does not produce a lesser impact on the reader; on the contrary, it shows up more clearly the pervasive character of Stoic inuence. Even in edition 6 there remain in the earlier Parts of the book enough direct references to and quotations from Stoic doctrine to indicate this. Stoicism never lost its hold over Smiths mind. When revising his book for edition 6 in his last years, he not only moved two of the earlier passages on that famous sect (as he calls it in the Advertisement) to the historical survey in Part VII. He also added further reections, especially on the Stoic view of suicide, stimulated no doubt by the posthumous publication of an essay by Hume arguing that suicide was sometimes admirable.

95

More important, however, is the inuence of Stoic principles on Smiths own views, again something that persisted to his latest writings. In the fresh material added to edition 6 of TMS, Smiths elaboration of his account of Stoicism in Part VII is less signicant than the clearly Stoic tone of much that he wrote for Part III on the sense of duty and for the new Part VI on the character of virtue. Part VI deals with the three virtues of prudence, benecence, and selfcommand. The third of these, which also gures in the additions to Part III, is distinctively Stoic. The rst, though common to many systems of ethics, is interpreted by Smith in a Stoic manner. He departs from Stoicism in his views on benecence, but even there, when he comes to discuss universal benevolence in VI.ii.3, he introduces Stoic ideas and Stoic language to a remarkable degree. Smiths ethical doctrines are in fact a combination of Stoic and Christian virtuesor, in philosophical terms, a combination of Stoicism and Hutcheson. Hutcheson resolved all virtue into benevolence, a philosophical version of the Christian ethic of love. At an early stage in TMS, Adam Smith supplements this with Stoic selfcommand. And hence it is, that to feel much for others and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selsh, and to indulge our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; . . . As to love our neighbour as we love ourselves is the great law of Christianity, so it is the great precept of nature to love ourselves only as we love our neighbour, or what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour is capable of loving us. (I.i.5.5) Smith emphasizes selfcommand again when supplementing for edition 6 his treatment of the sense of duty in Part III. He there repeats the dual character of his ideal. The man of the most perfect virtue . . . is he who joins, to the most perfect command of his own original and selfish feelings, the most exquisite sensibility both to the original and sympathetic feelings of others (II.3.34). In Part VI Smith goes farther, making selfcommand a necessary condition for the exercise of other virtues. Great merit in the practice of any virtue presupposes that there has been temptation to the contrary and that the temptation has been overcome; that is to say, it presupposes selfcommand. Selfcommand is not only itself a great virtue, but from it all the other virtues seem to derive their principal lustre (VI.iii.11). For Adam Smith, selfcommand has come to permeate the whole of virtue, an indication of the way in which Stoicism permeated his reection over the whole range of ethics and social science. When Smith sets Stoic selfcommand beside Christian love in the rst of the quotations given above, he calls it the great precept of nature. Life according to nature was the basic tenet of Stoic ethics, and a Stoic idea of nature and the natural forms a major part of the philosophical foundations of TMS and WN alike. The Stoic doctrine went along with a view of nature as a cosmic harmony. Phrases that occur in Smiths account of this Stoic conception are echoed when he expresses his own opinions. The correspondence is most striking in the chapter on universal benevolence, where Marcus Aurelius is recalled by name as well as in phrase: the great Conductor whose benevolence and wisdom have . . . contrived and conducted the immense machine of the universe (in the new material of edition 6 at VI.ii.3.45) is a recollection of the allwise Architect and Conductor of one immense and connected system, the whole machine of the

96

world, (quoted from Marcus Aurelius in VII.ii.1.37). Essentially similar turns of speech are to be found in a number of passages, both early and late, of TMS. Indeed, the frequency of such phrases leads one to think that commentators have laid too much stress on the invisible hand, which appears only once in each of Smiths two books. On both occasions the context is the Stoic idea of harmonious system, seen in the working of society. The Stoics themselves applied the notion to society no less than to the physical universe, and used the Greek word sympatheia (in the sense of organic connection) of both. This is not the sympathy that gures in Adam Smiths ethics. Sympathy and the impartial spectator, as Smith interprets them, are the truly original features of his theory. Yet it is quite likely that in his own mind each of these two ideas was intimately related to the Stoic outlook. Like the Stoics he thought of the social bond in terms of sympathy, and he describes the Stoic view of world citizenship and selfcommand as if it implied the impartial spectator. Man, according to the Stoics, ought to regard himself . . . as a citizen of the world, a member of the vast commonwealth of nature. . . . We should view ourselves . . . in the light in which any other citizen of the world would view us. What befalls ourselves we should regard as what befalls our neighbour, or, what comes to the same thing, as our neighbour regards what befalls us. (III.3.11) In WN the Stoic concept of natural harmony appears especially in the obvious and simple system of natural liberty (IV.ix.51). We should remember that the three writers on whom Smith chiey draws for Stoic doctrineEpictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Cicerowere all Roman, and that the practical bent of the Romans closely connected mens moral duties with their legal obligations as citizens. The universalist ethic of Stoicism became enshrined in the law of nature. This tradition Smith accepted, understandably in his setting. Ethics for him implied a natural jurisprudence, and his economic theories arose out of, indeed were originally part of, his lectures on jurisprudence. The Stoic concept of social harmony, as Smith understood it, did not mean that everyone behaved virtuously. Stoic ethics said it was wrong to injure others for ones own advantage, but Stoic metaphysics said that good could come out of evil. The ancient stoics were of opinion, that as the world was governed by the all ruling providence of a wise, powerful, and good God, every single event ought to be regarded, as making a necessary part of the plan of the universe, and as tending to promote the general order and happiness of the whole: that the vices and follies of mankind, therefore, made as necessary a part of this plan as their wisdom or their virtue; and by that eternal art which educes good from ill, were made to tend equally to the prosperity and perfection of the great system of nature. (I.ii.3.4) This doctrine anticipates the betterknown statement of Smiths own opinion that the selsh rich are led by an invisible hand to help the poor and to serve the interest of society at large (IV.1.10). Smith has added the idea of a deception by nature and the phrase an invisible hand. The famous phrase may have sprung from an uneasiness about the reconciliation of selshness with the perfection of the system. In itself the idea of deception by an invisible hand is uncon97

vincing. It gains its plausibility from the preceding account of aesthetic pleasure afforded by power and riches, a pleasure that is reinforced by the admiration of spectators. Smith himself clearly set most store by the psychological explanation. But the invisible hand, through its reappearance in WN, has captured the attention, especially of economists. In the TMS passage Smith writes disparagingly of the natural selshness and rapacity of the rich, but this does not mean that he regards all selfinterested action as bad in itself and redeemable only by the deception of nature. He does not even accept the view of Hutcheson that self love is morally neutral. Smith follows the Stoics once again in holding that selfpreservation is the rst task committed to us by nature and that prudence is a virtue so long as it does not injure others. His explicit account of Stoicism in Part VII begins with the doctrine that every animal was by nature recommended to its own care, and was endowed with the principle of selflove, for the sake of preserving its existence and perfection (VII.ii.1.15). This is echoed by an expression of Smiths own view in Part II, Every man is, no doubt, by nature, rst and principally recommended to his own care (II.ii.2.1), and then again in the new Part VI, where it is reafrmed with acknowledgement, Every man, as the Stoics used to say, is rst and principally recommended to his own care (VI.ii.1.1). Smith does appear to give rather more scope to prudence in the new Part VI than in the earlier material, no doubt reecting a change of emphasis in the thought of the more mature man who had written WN. Essentially, however, TMS and WN are at one. For example, Smith writes in TMS of that great purpose of human life which we call bettering our condition (I.iii.2.1). This reappears in WN in vivid form: But the principle which prompts to save, is the desire of bettering our condition, a desire which, though generally calm and dispassionate, comes with us from the womb, and never leaves us till we go into the grave (II.iii.28).9 In WN this is of course worked out in its economic aspect, as the drive to employ ones stock and industry to ones best advantage. In TMS the desire to better our condition is related to class distinction and is attributed to vanity, the desire to be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation. There is a difference of tone, but both books treat the desire to better our condition as natural and proper. The consistency and the Stoic character of Smiths views of prudence may be brought out by comparing two passages, one written for edition 6, the other for edition 1. In VI.i.11 Smith says: In the steadiness of his industry and frugality, in his steadily sacricing the ease and enjoyment of the present moment for the probable expectation of the still greater ease and enjoyment of a more distant but more lasting period of time, the prudent man is always both supported and rewarded by the entire approbation of the impartial spectator. . . . The reference to industry and frugality immediately recalls WN. The other passage, in IV.2.8, written thirty years earlier, contains a similar reference when discussing selfcommand: from the spectators approval of self command arises that eminent esteem with which all men naturally regard a steady perseverance in the practice of frugality, industry, and application, though directed to no other purpose than the acquisition of fortune. The passage in Part VI appears to take a more charitable view of prudence as such, but in fact there is no real change of doctrine, for in the Part VI passage Smith

98

goes on to explain that the approval of the impartial spectator is really directed at that proper exertion of selfcommand which enables the prudent man to attach almost as much importance to future enjoyment as to present. There is no reason to suppose that Smith departs in any way from this view when he gives similar praise to industry and frugality in WN. The moral quality of prudence depends on its association with the Stoic virtue of selfcommand. Smiths respect for Stoicism was not unqualied, and he ends his account of it, as of other systems, with some rm criticisms. Apart from the particular question of suicide, which he says is contrary to nature in her sound and healthful state, Smith nds fault with two features of the Stoic philosophy. First, he rejects the Stoic paradoxes that all virtuous actions are equally good and all failings equally bad. Second, while accepting the idea of world citizenship, he rejects the Stoic view that this should obliterate stronger ties of feeling for smaller groups. On the contrary, Smith argues, it is nature that teaches us to put family, friends, and nation rst, while also providing us with the judgements of the impartial spectator to check any excessive attachment. Despite the criticisms, however, it is not too much to say that Adam Smiths ethics and natural theology are predominantly Stoic. (c)Inuence of contemporary thinkers Among contemporary thinkers Hume had the greatest inuence on the formation of Smiths ethical theory. Smith rejects or transforms Humes ideas far more often than he follows them, but his own views would have been markedly different if he had not been stimulated to disagreement with Hume. Second in order of importance is the inuence of Hutcheson, whose teaching directed Smiths general approach to moral philosophy and enabled him to appreciate the progress in that approach made by Hume. The particular doctrines of TMS, however, owe little to Hutchesons actual theory, which Smith probably took to be superseded by Humes more complex account. The relation of Smiths ethics to the thought of Hutcheson and Hume needs to be described in some detail, but rst let us note the extent to which Smith was inuenced by other moral philosophers of his time. It is remarkably small. Smith was well informed about ancient philosophy, keenly interested in the history of science and the evolution of society, and widely read in the culture of his own time, especially its literature, history, and nascent social science. He was anything but insular: his reading of recent books was almost as extensive in French as in English, and it was not negligible in Italian. Yet he was not closely acquainted with much of the ethical theory of the eighteenth century. Perhaps the very breadth of his interests and outlook was responsible for this. In his Letter to the Editors of the Edinburgh Review, July 1755, Smith could describe, from his own reading, not only Rousseaus Discourse on Inequality but also the Theory of agreeable sentiments by Mr. De Pouilly; yet his ignorance of recent works in English comparable with the latter is shown by his remark that the characteristic English approach to philosophy, taken over by France, now seems to be intirely neglected by the English themselves. In fact there were several English contributions to mental and moral philosophy in the 1740s and early 1750s at least as valuable as Lvesque de Pouillys little book on the psychology of pleasure. Smiths statement in
99

the Letter that England had until then been preeminent for originality in philosophy is simply a repetition of what Hume had said in the Introduction to the Treatise of Human Nature, and Smiths list of English thinkers (Hobbes, Locke, Mandeville, Shaftesbury, Butler, Clarke, Hutcheson) differs little from Humes. It follows Hume in including Hutcheson, although the point of the Letter, unlike that of Humes Introduction, is to urge the Edinburgh Review to look beyond Scotland. There are a few particular issues on which Smith was affected by contemporary thinkers other than Hutcheson and Hume. When he distinguishes justice from benecence he refers to the work of Lord Kames, an author of very great and original genius (II.ii.1.5), but perhaps Smiths view of the distinction was reinforced rather than suggested by that of Kames since the theories of the two men do not have much in common. (The tone of homage in Smiths allusion to Kames may owe something to gratitude for promoting the Edinburgh lectures, which in turn led to the Glasgow appointment.) At I.iii.1.1 Smith refers, rather inaccurately, to a passage of Bishop Butler about sympathy, though not so as to suggest any indebtedness. In another place, III.5.56, Smith unconsciously recalls some of Butlers phrases about the authority of conscience. Here Smith is as much inuenced by Hutcheson as by Butler himself, for Hutchesons lectures (posthumously published as A System of Moral Philosophy) had adopted Butlers language on this topic. The passage in TMS probably survives from the earliest version of Smiths lectures, in which he will have followed the example of Hutcheson more closely than in later years when he had developed his own theory of conscience as the imagined impartial spectator. The unconscious repetition of phrases, both from his own earlier work and from that of other writers who had moved him to agreement or disagreement, is a characteristic feature of Adam Smiths writings, and Butler is not the only contemporary philosopher to leave such traces in his mind. Faint echoes of Mandeville and of Rousseau can be heard in the passage about the deception of nature (IV.1.8 and 10). But all these are nothing to the echoes of Stoicism and of Hume that appear so often in both the language and the doctrine of TMS. In Part VII of the book Smith discusses recent as well as ancient philosophy. Apart from Hutcheson, the only contemporary philosopher who is considered at length is Mandeville in VII.ii.4. (In editions 15 his name was coupled with that of La Rochefoucauld, but Smiths actual exposition and criticism of licentious systems in this chapter were always conned to the work of Mandeville.) There are short accounts of Humes views in VII.ii.3.21 and in VII.iii.3.3 and 17. There are references to Hobbes in VII.iii.1 and 2, a glance at Clarke, Wollaston, and Shaftesbury in VII.ii.1.48, a perfunctory mention of the Cambridge Platonists in VII.ii.3.3, and a more denite reference in VII.iii.2.4 to one of them, Cudworth, as a representative of ethical rationalism. The ethical writings of both Hutcheson and Hume contain important criticism of opposing views. Hutcheson attacked egoistic theory, notably as expounded by Mandeville, and theories of ethical rationalism, especially those of Samuel Clarke and William Wollaston. Hume redoubled the assault on rationalism with a veritable barrage of subtle argument, but he did not repeat Hutchesons criticism of egoism, doubtless thinking that this was now dead. Adam Smith evidently felt the same about ethical rationalism. His chapter on the rationalists (VII.iii.2) is brief

100

and summary. He takes it for granted that moral rules are inductive generalizations and that moral concepts must arise in the rst place from feeling. In the last paragraph of the chapter he refers to Hutchesons criticism of ethical rationalism in Illustrations upon the Moral Sense as being quite decisive. (It is noteworthy that he does not explicitly mention Humes more nely directed series of arguments in the Treatise of Human Nature, though there is presumably an implicit reference to Hume in the statement that Hutcheson was the rst to distinguish with any degree of precision the respective roles of reason and feeling in morals.) Smith writes as if he had little knowledge or appreciation of the carefully argued counterattacks on Hutcheson in writers such as John Balguy and Richard Price. Unlike Hume, however, Smith evidently thought that egoistic theory was still a force to be reckoned with, as is shown by the length of his chapter on Mandeville. Perhaps this was because he had seen the strength of Mandevilles position in economic affairs. At any rate he treats it more seriously than ethical rationalism. Mandevilles system, he says, could not have imposed upon so many people or have caused alarm to so many others had it not in some respects bordered upon the truth (VII.ii.4.14). Hutcheson held (against egoism) that moral action and moral judgement are both disinterested, and (against rationalism) that they both depend on natural feelings. Moral action is motivated by the disinterested feeling of benevolence, and moral judgement expresses the disinterested feeling of approval or disapproval that Hutcheson called the moral sense. Since benevolence aims at producing happiness or preventing unhappiness, and since a wide benevolence is approved more than a narrow, the morally best action is that which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers.10 The approval of virtue is like the appreciation of beauty, a feeling aroused in a spectator. Hume agreed with Hutcheson that benevolence is a motive natural to man and that it naturally evokes approval. But he did not agree that benevolence is the sole motive of virtuous action or that moral approval is an innate basic feeling. He distinguished natural from articial virtue; benevolence is the chief example of the former, justice of the latter. Moral approval can be explained by sympathy. The spectator takes sympathetic pleasure in the happiness that natural virtue, such as benevolence, tends to produce, and his approval is an expression of that sympathetic pleasure. Articial virtue depends indirectly on utility, the utility of its rules, and the approval of articial virtue depends ultimately on sympathy with the happiness of society. Hume therefore retained the view that all virtue is connected with benecial effects. He also retained from Hutcheson the analogy between ethics and aesthetics and an emphasis on the role of the spectator in moral judgement. Humes theory is superior to Hutchesons in explaining more. It recognizes a complexity in moral motivation and tries to account for our adherence to moral rules. It is not satised with the bare existence of disinterested approval and gives an explanation in terms of sympathy. Adam Smith follows up Humes advance by pointing out a greater complexity and offering different explanations. Sympathy is central in Smiths account but is itself more complex than Humes concept of sympathy. For Hume, sympathy is a sharing of the pleasure or pain produced in a person affected by an action. For Smith, sympathy can be a sharing of any feeling and its rst role in

101

moral approbation concerns the motive of the agent. The spectator who sympathizes with the agents motive approves of the action as proper. Sympathy with the feelings of the person affected by the action comes in to help form the more complex judgement of merit. A benevolent action is not only proper but meritorious. The judgement of merit expresses a double sympathy, both with the benevolent motive of the agent and with the gratitude felt by the person beneted. The second element in double sympathy has some afnity with Humes concept but is not quite the same. Hume thinks of the spectator as sharing by sympathy the pleasure of the benet itself; Smith thinks of the spectator as sharing by sympathy the gratitude that the benet evokes. This difference points to a sharper difference between the two philosophers on justice and on the place of utility in moral judgement. Although Hume distinguishes justice from benevolence, he connects both with utility and relates the approval of both to sympathy with benecial effects. Smiths explanation of justice is built in the rst instance on sympathy with resentment for harm (as merit is built on sympathy with gratitude for benet). Smith continually insists that considerations of utility are the last, not the rst, determinants of moral judgement. Our basic judgement of right and wrong is concerned with the agents motive, not with the effect of his action. Our more complex judgements of merit and demerit, justice and injustice, depend on the reactions of gratitude and resentment to benet and harm respectively, not simply on the benet and harm themselves. And even though the pleasant or painful effects of action are relevant to the moral judgement passed upon it, they are primarily the effects of this particular action upon particular individuals, not the more remote effects upon society at large. Considerations of general social utility are an afterthought, not a foundation. This is not to say that utility is of little importance in Smiths thought. It is of course crucial for his economic theory. One feature that comes out more clearly in TMS is the place of aesthetic pleasure in the value attached to utility. Useful means are valued rst for the ends at which they aim, but then we are charmed by the beauty of their own sheer efciency, and this pleasure, Smith believes, plays a major part in sustaining economic activity and political planning. Smith legitimately took pride in his originality on this last point (IV.1.3) but derived the more general idea from Hume. Both Hume and Smith learned from Hutcheson to keep aesthetics in mind when thinking about ethics. In Treatise of Human Nature, II.ii.5, Hume wrote of the effect of sympathy in forming esteem for the rich and powerful (a thesis followed by Smith in TMS I.iii.2), and then went on to compare with this the role of sympathy in the communication of aesthetic pleasure, including the aesthetic pleasure afforded by convenience or utility. Smith seized on the last remark and emphasized its social importance. It seems likely that the title of Lvesque de Pouillys book, Thorie des sentiments agrables, suggested to Smith that a suitable name for the philosophy of morals, as he understood it, would be the theory of moral sentiments. This is a description of the subject, not of Smiths individual theory (for which the word sympathy is virtually essential). Smith took it as established by Hutcheson and Hume that morals depend on sentiment or feeling. He differed from them, however, in insisting upon the plurality of moral feelings. Hutcheson postulated a single moral sense or capacity to feel approval, analogous to the sense of beauty and the sense of honour. Hume

102

likewise wrote in the Treatise of Human Nature (III.i.2) of approbation as a particular or peculiar kind of pleasant feeling, but in the Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals (appendix iv) he distinguished different kinds of approbation for different kinds of virtue. Smith followed the distinction drawn by Hume in the Enquiry between the amiable and the awful virtues, each arousing a different type of approval. For Smith this meant that there are different forms of the sense of propriety. He then further distinguished the sense of propriety from the sense of merit and the sense of duty. Smith accordingly took the view that there are several kinds of moral approbation, a variety of moral feelings or sentiments. The philosophy of morals may therefore be called the theory of moral sentiments. Nothing of all this can be found in Lvesque de Pouillys book, which is mainly concerned with the psychology of pleasant feeling in general. The content of TMS owes nothing to it, but Smith seems to have adapted Lvesque de Pouillys title to suit his own more specic subject. Lvesque de Pouillys book appeared in English translation in 1749 as The Theory of Agreeable Sensations, but Smiths reference to it as the Theory of agreeable sentiments shows that he had read the original French version, rst published in 1747 and then reprinted in 1749 and 1750 (the 1750 edition in London). His use of the phrase the Theory of moral Sentiments as a name for the subject of ethics appears already in the manuscript fragment of his lecture on justice, presumably written in the early 1750s (see Appendix II).

2. Evolution
(a) Development between editions Smith made substantial changes to TMS in editions 2 and 6. The most important feature of these changes is a development of his concept of the impartial spectator. An account of this is given by D. D. Raphael in the volume of Essays on Adam Smith (edited by Andrew S. Skinner and Thomas Wilson) accompanying the present edition of Smiths Works. A summary of salient points will therefore sufce here. Both Hutcheson and Hume gave prominence, in their ethical theories, to the approval of a spectator or of every spectator, even of a judicious spectator. This conception helps to bring out the disinterested character of the moral standpoint; the spectator is not personally involved, as is the agent or a person affected by the action. A spectator theory of moral judgement implies impartiality, even though Hutcheson and Hume did not use the adjective impartial11 in this connection. The originality of Adam Smiths impartial spectator lies in his development of the idea so as to explain the source and nature of conscience, i.e. of a mans capacity to judge his own actions and especially of his sense of duty. On this aspect of ethics the theories of Hutcheson and Hume were undoubtedly lame, as was clear to their rationalist critics. Hutcheson himself must have seen the force of the criticism when he accepted, in his later work, the view of Bishop Butler that conscience has authority, though he did not attempt to explain this in terms of his theory of approval. Smith did, in terms of his own theory.

103

According to Smith, conscience is a product of social relationship. Our rst moral sentiments are concerned with the actions of other people. Each of us judges as a spectator and nds himself judged by spectators. Reection upon our own conduct begins later in time and is inevitably affected by the more rudimentary experience. Reection is here a live metaphor, for the thought process mirrors the judgement of a hypothetical observer. We suppose ourselves the spectators of our own behaviour, and endeavour to imagine what effect it would, in this light, produce upon us. This is the only lookingglass by which we can, in some measure, with the eyes of other people, scrutinize the propriety of our own conduct (III.1.5). The lookingglass requires imagination; Smiths impartial spectator is not the actual man without but an imagined man within. When I judge my own conduct I do not simply observe what an actual spectator has to say; I imagine what I should feel if I myself were a spectator of the proposed action. There is an important difference between this view and the more straightforward idea that conscience reects the feelings of real external spectators. If I imagine myself as a spectator, I may on the one hand fail to overcome my natural partiality for myself as the actual agent, and in this respect the man within may be an inferior witness. But on the other hand the man without is liable to lack relevant information that I possess, and in that way the judgement of conscience can be superior to that of actual spectators. This feature of Smiths account was not made sufciently clear in edition 1 of TMS. Smith was led to clarify it for his readers, and perhaps also for himself, as the result of an objection put to him by Sir Gilbert Elliot. Elliots letter has not survived but we can infer the point of it from Smiths reply,12 which was accompanied by a draft of a revision that was introduced (with some changes of detail) in edition 2. Elliots objection must have come to this: if conscience is a reection of social attitudes, how can it ever differ from, or be thought superior to, popular opinion? In the revision for edition 2 Smith showed how the imagined impartial spectator can reach a more objective opinion than actual spectators, who are liable to be misled by ignorance or the distortions of perspective. Imagination can conjure up a spectator free from those limitations, just as it can enable us to reach objective judgements of perception. At this stage Smith still retained the view that conscience begins with popular opinion. He says, in the revision for edition 2, that the jurisdiction of conscience is in a great measure derived from the authority of that very tribunal, whose decisions it so often and so justly reverses. But by the time he came to revise the work again for edition 6, Smith had become even more sceptical of popular opinion and replaced the passage just quoted by the statement that the jurisdictions of those two tribunals are founded upon principles which, though in some respects resembling and akin, are, however, in reality different and distinct (III.2.32). The judgement of the real spectator depends on the desire for actual praise, that of the imagined impartial spectator on the desire for praiseworthiness. Smith maintains the distinction in other parts of the new material added to edition 6, especially in his treatment of selfcommand. Although Smiths special concept of the impartial spectator was developed to explain a mans moral judgements about himself, the general idea is of course used for other moral judgements too. In Smiths view, the main stream of ethical theory, which holds that virtue consists in propri104

ety, has offered only two suggestions for a rm criterion of right action; one is utility, the other is the impartial spectator. Throughout the work he gives reasons for preferring the second. Its central importance for him is underlined by his adding to edition 6 a short paragraph in criticism of modern theories of propriety (VII.ii.1.49). None of those systems either give, or even pretend to give, any precise or distinct measure by which this tness or propriety of affection can be ascertained or judged of. That precise and distinct measure can be found nowhere but in the sympathetic feelings of the impartial and wellinformed spectator. Sir Gilbert Elliot was not the only critic to be answered in edition 2. Smith also deals, at I.iii.1.9, with an objection put to him by Hume in Letter 36, dated 28 July 1759. Humes objection concerned sympathy and approval. According to Humes own theory, the feeling of approval is a special sort of pleasure and arises from sympathy with the pleasure produced by a virtuous action. Smith likewise connected approbation with sympathy but did not limit this to sympathy with pleasure. He wrote of sympathizing with grief and thereby approving it as proper in the circumstances. Sympathy with grief is of course a sharing of a painful feeling. But Smith also wrote, in I.i.2.6, that we are always pleased when we can sympathize. Hume thought there was an inconsistency here. In his reply Smith makes clearer the relation between sympathetic feeling and the feeling of approval. Sympathetic feeling can be either pleasurable or painful. When a spectator does sympathize, in either way, he can also note the correspondence between his own feeling and that of the person observed, and this perception of correspondence is always pleasurable. The sentiment of approval is the second, necessarily pleasurable, feeling, not the rst. A distinction between sympathy and approval is all the more necessary for a passage added to edition 6. As has already been mentioned in section 1(c) above (p. 14), Smith followed Hume in using sympathy to explain the distinction of ranks (I.iii.2). We admire the rich and the great because we take sympathetic pleasure in their enjoyments. The admiration or respect is perfectly natural and contributes to the stability of society. By 1789, however, when revising the book for edition 6, Smith was less complacent and followed that discussion with a new chapter (I.iii.3) on the corruption of our moral sentiments by the disposition to admire the rich and the great. In it he says that while wealth and power commonly receive respect, they do not deserve it, as do wisdom and virtue. Yet he still thinks that the respect for the rich and the great is both natural and useful. In VI.ii.1.20, again a passage written for edition 6, Smith returns briey to the rich and the great as contrasted with the wise and the virtuous. He there commends the benevolent wisdom of nature in leading us to admire the former so much, his reason being the old one that our natural tendency to respect wealth and power helps to maintain social order. Despite the connection with sympathy and utility, Smith does not wish to class this respect as a form of moral approbation. It is, he says, similar to and apt to be mistaken for the moral respect that we feel for wisdom and virtue, but nonetheless it is not the same (I.iii.3.3). A major change in edition 6 was the inclusion of an entirely new Part VI. In general this rounds out and claries, rather than changes, Smiths ethical theory. It describes a division of virtue into three categories: prudence; benevolence and justice (both of which concern the effects of

105

conduct on other people); and selfcommand. Smith always included all of these in his idea of virtue, but the earlier version of his views did not set out so clearly their relative place in the scheme of things and did not say much about prudence. The increased attention to prudence in edition 6 is natural from the more mature Adam Smith who had pondered on economics for so long. The prudent man of TMS VI.i. is the frugal man of WN.II.iii. The Stoic virtue of self command was highlighted even in edition 1. Edition 6 devotes a substantial section (iii) to self command in the new Part VI and also adds further reections in III.3, where selfcommand is compared with conscience in the fully developed concept of the impartial spectator. The more extensive treatment given to selfcommand in edition 6 suggests that Smith had now acquired an even warmer regard for Stoicism than he felt in earlier days. This is conrmed both by the more elaborate treatment of Stoic philosophy as such, in VII.ii.1, and by the account of universal benevolence, in VII.ii.3, in terms of Stoic rather than of Christian doctrine. Other features of the new Part VI reect the interests and experience of an older man. Descriptions of different charactersthe prudent man, the man of system, the magnanimous, the proud, the vain manfollow the model of Aristotle and Theophrastus but also declare Smiths own scale of values. Unlike Aristotle he did not think that theorizing was necessarily the best form of human life. Indeed he despised the pure theorist who pursued dogma with no regard for practice, and he seems to have admired heroic characters most. In his strictures on civil faction and the spirit of system (VI.ii.2.1218), Smith appears to be reacting to the French Revolution. This has led Walther Eckstein, in the Introduction (xlii f.) to his edition of TMS, to attribute to Smiths old age a conservatism that was not there before. If we did not know from other evidence that Smith was a lifelong Whig, Eckstein says, we might suppose from this section of TMS that he was a Tory. It seems to us, however, that Ecksteins interpretation is dubious. Most men grow more cautious with advancing years, and Smith was no exception. But his general position in politics does not seem to have changed substantially. He was always a staunch republican in spirit (as Eckstein agrees). There is at rst sight some substance in a specic point made by Eckstein. In VI.ii.2.16 Smith commends the divine maxim of Plato that a man should not use violence against his country any more than against his parents. Eckstein notes (xliii) that this is recalled in LJ(B) 15 (Cannan ed., 11), where Smith says the Tory principle of authority declares that to offend against government is as bad as to rebel against a parent. (LJ(A) v.124 contains a similar statement.) There is, however, a difference between the two formulations; one does not have to be a Tory to take the TMS view that it is wrong to use violence against the state. Eckstein also cites as evidence Smiths view in VI.ii.1.20 that respect for rank contributes to social stability, and his comparable statements in VI.ii.2.910 that attachment to ones own particular order also helps stability and checks the spirit of innovation. But such support for the existing social structure is nothing new in Smith. We have already noted that he approved of the respect for rank even more warmly (i.e. without qualication) in edition 1. Further, his approval is on grounds of utility, which in the LJ passage is said to be the principle of Whig, as contrasted with Tory, politics. Smith believed in a careful balance between order and innovation. There is a strong conservative strain in his thinking, but it is not markedly stronger in

106

the edition 6 material of TMS than in the earlier writing. That he should be shocked by the events of 1789 is entirely what we would expect. There is more of a case for Ecksteins further suggestion (intro. xlv ff.) that a change in Smiths religious views can be inferred from revisions in edition 6, especially from the omission of a passage on the Atonement and from the sceptical sound of a single dry sentence that took its place (II.ii.3.12). Less striking indications of such a change can in fact be seen in earlier revisions of the passage. This matter is dealt with fully in Appendix II. Other passages added in edition 6 show that Smith was still imbued with a religious spirit (as Eckstein notes), but it seems reasonable to conclude that he had moved away from orthodox Christianity. There is additional evidence pointing in the same direction, e.g. Letter 163 addressed to Alexander Wedderburn, dated 14 August 1776, which says: Poor David Hume is dying very fast, but with great chearfulness and good humour and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any Whining Christian ever dyed with pretended resignation to the will of God. Smith did not, however, follow Hume into scepticism. All the evidence points rather to a trend towards natural religion, an attitude shown also in the sympathy with which he rearranged and expanded the Stoic passages of TMS. (b) Relation of TMS to WN In the light of what has been said in the preceding section about changes in edition 6, there is no need to add much to discussions in the past about the relation of TMS to WN. The socalled Adam Smith problem was a pseudoproblem based on ignorance and misunderstanding. Anybody who reads TMS, rst in one of the earlier editions and then in edition 6, will not have the slightest inclination to be puzzled that the same man wrote this book and WN, or to suppose that he underwent any radical change of view about human conduct. Smiths account of ethics and of human behaviour is basically the same in edition 6 of 1790 as in edition 1 of 1759. There is development but no fundamental alteration. It is also perfectly obvious that TMS is not isolated from WN (1776). Some of the content of the new material added to edition 6 of TMS clearly comes from the author of WN. No less clearly, a little of the content of edition 1 of TMS comes from the potential author of WN. Of course WN is narrower in scope and far more extensive in the working out of details than is TMS. It is largely, though by no means wholly, about economic activity and so, when it refers to motivation, concentrates on selfinterest. There is nothing surprising in Adam Smiths well known statement (WN I.ii.2): It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. Who would suppose this to imply that Adam Smith had come to disbelieve in the very existence or the moral value of benevolence? Nobody with any sense. But this does not necessarily exclude scholars, some of whom have adopted the Umschwungstheorie, the hypothesis that the moral philosopher who made sympathy the basis of social behaviour in TMS did an aboutturn from altruistic to egoistic theory in WN owing to the inuence of the French materialist thinkers whom he met in Paris in 1766.

107

The charge of materialism (meaning an egoistic theory of human nature) in WN was made by Bruno Hildebrand as early as 1848 in Die Nationalkonomie der Gegenwart und Zukunft (Frankfurt). It was followed up by Carl G. A. Knies in Die Politische Oekonomie vom Standpunkte der geschichtlichen Methode (Braunschweig, 1853), where the suggestion was rst made that Smith changed his views between writing TMS and WN, and that the change was a result of his visit to France. The full blown version of the Umschwungstheorie, however, was produced by Witold von Skaryski in Adam Smith als Moralphilosoph und Schoepfer der Nationaloekonomie (Berlin, 1878). Skaryskis ideas were sparked off by those of H. T. Buckle in vol. ii of his History of Civilization in England (London, 1861). Buckle put forward a theory of a peculiar relationship between Smiths two books. Skaryski saw that this was questionable, but in reacting against it (and against Buckles high praise of Smith) he adopted one of Buckles chief errors and then added some of his own. Buckles view needs to be considered rst. Buckles interpretation of Adam Smith is in Chapter 6 of his book, dealing with Scottish thought in the eighteenth century. Buckle had a curious obsession with methodology, and in this chapter he insists that all Scottish philosophers of that period proceeded by the method of deduction and would have nothing to do with induction. Adam Smith conformed to the pattern, according to Buckle, except for one thing; he followed a peculiar form of deduction (p. 437) in arguing from premisses that deliberately left out part of the relevant data. The procedure, based on the method of geometry (so Buckle says), was to select one set of premisses and reason from them in one context, and then to take the remaining data as another set of premisses for inference in a different context. Each piece of reasoning, Buckle continues, is incomplete on its own; they need to be seen as supplementing each other. That is how we must view TMS and WN. To understand the philosophy of this, by far the greatest of all the Scotch thinkers, both works must be taken together, and considered as one; since they are, in reality, the two divisions of a single subject. In the Moral Sentiments, he investigates the sympathetic part of human nature; in the Wealth of Nations, he investigates its selsh part. And as all of us are sympathetic as well as selsh . . . and as this classication is a primary and exhaustive division of our motives to action, it is evident, that if Adam Smith had completely accomplished his vast design, he would at once have raised the study of human nature to a science, . . . (4323) The general theme of this passage has point, but it is distorted by Buckles assumption that sympathy and selshness can be set side by side as motives, indeed as an exhaustive division of motives. After asserting that Smith soon perceived that an inductive investigation was impossible and therefore adopted his peculiar form of deduction, Buckle repeats his view of how Smith proceeded in the two books. In the Moral Sentiments, he ascribes our actions to sympathy; in his Wealth of Nations, he ascribes them to selshness. A short view of these two works will prove the existence of this fundamental difference, and will enable us to perceive that each is supplementary to the other; so that, in order to understand either, it is necessary to study both. (437)

108

It is indeed true that the two books complement each other and that the understanding of either is helped by studying both. But Buckle has not taken his own advice. He cannot have studied TMS if he thinks that it ascribes our actions to sympathy. Sympathy is the core of Smiths explanation of moral judgement. The motive to action is an entirely different matter. Smith recognizes a variety of motives, not only for action in general but also for virtuous action. These motives include selfinterest or, to use the eighteenthcentury term, selflove. It is this, not selshness, that comes to the fore in WN. Smith distinguished the two expressions, using selshness in a pejorative sense for such selflove as issues in harm or neglect of other people. While Smith is ready to couple selshness with rapacity (TMS IV.1.10), he also insists, against Hutcheson, that a proper regard to our own private happiness and interest is a necessary element in virtue (VII.ii.3.16). It is therefore impossible to accept the view that there is any difference of substance between TMS and WN on selfinterest as a motive. As for methodology, Buckle may have been misled by WN V.i.f.26, the one paragraph about logic in that work. In describing the divisions of ancient philosophy, Smith says that logic arose from considering the difference between a probable and a demonstrative argument, between a fallacious and a conclusive one. Buckle may have taken this to imply that probable or inductive argument should be wholly rejected. Smith has something more to say about methodology in LRBL and in the essay on the History of Astronomy in EPS. In LRBL ii.1335 (Lothian ed., 13940) he prefers the Newtonian method of didactic discourse to that of Aristotle. The rst connects together all the relevant phenomena and their explanatory principles, while the latter, the unconnected method, explains each phenomenon ad hoc. But it is not at all clear that this is a distinction between deduction and induction. For in Astronomy. II.12, Smith represents scientic explanation, including that of Newton, as addressing itself to the imagination by showing regularities in the apparently irregular, and here he is following Humes view of inductive reasoning. There is no good reason to suppose that Smith thought inductive investigation was impossible, let alone that he pursued a special form of deduction, with a peculiar artice, derived from geometry. His own habits of reasoning include both deduction and induction, as one would expect. Buckles suggestion that he followed the analogy of geometry is particularly inept because it allies Smith with the method of rationalism. Smith was in fact a rm empiricist and had little sympathy with rationalist philosophy. The peculiar artice of distorting the premisses of an argument is Buckles own invention, designed to explain the existence of two allegedly inconsistent accounts of human nature. Skaryski rightly rejected the idea that an artice of logic could make inconsistency consistent, but he mistakenly accepted Buckles assumption that Smiths two books gave contrary accounts of conduct. He therefore was led to the conclusion that Smith changed his views between writing them. To this was added the conviction that Smith was not an original thinker: according to Skaryski, Smith learned all his moral philosophy from Hutcheson and Hume, and all his economics from French scholars. So Smiths change of mind between 1759 and 1776 was attributed to his visit to France in 17646.

109

Skaryski knew Dugald Stewarts Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, which contains two important pieces of evidence against the thesis that Smith learned all his economics in France. We have already noted these in section 1(a) above. First, Stewart gives us the report of John Millar that Smiths lectures on Moral Philosophy included a section on economics that contained the substance of WN; and second, Stewart describes a manuscript of 1755 in which Smith claims to have dictated before 1749, and to have delivered from 1750 onwards, lectures that incorporated certain of his leading principles in political economy. For Skaryski, however, this is not evidence. How unfortunate, he says ironically, that these valuable lectures were burned shortly before Smiths death; mere assertion without written evidence is worthless (pp. 6 7). And when he quotes Millars statement that the lectures contained the substance of WN, he adds two exclamation marks to show his incredulity (53). What Skaryski would have called genuine evidence came to light eighteen years after the appearance of his book. A Report, copied in 1766, of Adam Smiths lectures on jurisprudence was brought to the attention of Edwin Cannan and published by him in 1896. We can now say with some certainty that it relates to lectures given in 17634. A further Report of the lectures given in 17623 has been discovered more recently. Skaryski would (or should) have found these Reports even more effective than the original notes that Adam Smith asked his friends to burn as he lay dying. If Smiths manuscripts had not been burned, Skaryski might have said that they were not necessarily the same as the manuscripts used for lectures in the 1760s; and indeed they may well have been altered. The Reports that we now have are less authentic in one sense, but there is no question of their having been revised by Smith after his visit to France. A comparison of the two Reports shows that Smith was actively developing and varying his treatment of the subjectmatter in the period 17624. We also have a manuscript that W. R. Scott called An early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations and published in his Adam Smith as Student and Professor. It must have been written before April 1763.13 These documents show that Smith had gone a considerable way in his economic thinking by the time he left Scotland for France in 1764, and that this early material provided a sound foundation for developments which were certainly stimulated by the visit to France but which occupied his mind throughout the period 176476. What he took from the Physiocrats is clear, as are his criticisms. Although Skaryski did not have access to the manuscripts known today, he could have informed himself more adequately of facts that were available. He says on p. 166 of his book, truly enough, that Smith did not publish anything on political economy before 1776, but he then goes on to assert, in deance of the testimony of Dugald Stewart, that Smith had probably not once applied himself denitely to the study of political economy before his visit to France. Skaryski evidently had no notion that lectures on economic matters were a recognized part of Moral Philosophy as taught in the Scottish Universities at that time. The tradition stemmed from the treatment of natural law by Roman and medieval writers, and more immediately from the jurisprudence of Grotius and Pufendorf. At Glasgow, Hutchesons predecessor in the Chair of Moral Philosophy, Gerschom Carmichael, used his own annotated edition of Pufendorf s De Ofcio Hominis et Civis. Hutcheson continued the practice. Smith draws on Grotius in TMS (and on both

110

Grotius and Pufendorf in LJ, though Skaryski could not have known that). The tradition is common to all the Scottish teachers of Moral Philosophy in the eighteenth century. Skaryskis study of TMS seems to have been concentrated on noting Smiths indebtedness to Hume. He treats the book as merely reproducing from Hume and at times doing it badly (767, 945). He even says (88) that Smiths twists and turns, sophistries and confusions, could serve very well to obtain for TMS the approval of three bishops and numerous literati (Schngeister), an ironic reference to Humes teasing account (Letter 31, dated 12 April 1759) of the success of the book. If Skaryski had studied TMS more thoroughly, he might have learned that Smiths ethical theory differs substantially from Humes, despite indebtedness. He might even have come to see that Buckles interpretation of it was mistaken. Smith himself provides the best evidence against any idea that there is a conict between his two works. In the Advertisement to edition 6 of TMS he refers to the nal paragraph of the book, which promises another one on law and government, and says that he has partly executed this promise in WN. Clearly therefore he regards WN as continuing the sequence of thought set out in TMS. Moreover, as we have said at the beginning of this section, any reader can see that the new material in edition 6 is simply a development of Smiths earlier position and at the same time reects some of the interests of WN. Skaryski was presumably unaware of the Advertisement and the additional matter in edition 6 of TMS. The references on pp. 36 and 48 of his book show that he used the Rautenberg translation (1770) of edition 3, although the main additions to edition 6 were in fact available in the later German translation by Kosegarten (17915). Commentators who have taken the trouble to read TMS with more care reject the view that there was a swing or that there is any radical inconsistency between TMS and WN. The scholars who show the most thorough knowledge of the book and of its Scottish background are: Wilhelm Hasbach, Untersuchungen ber Adam Smith und die Entwicklung der Politischen konomie (Leipzig, 1891); Ludovico Limentani, La morale della simpatia (Genoa, 1914); Walther Eckstein in the Introduction to his translation (1926); and T. D. Campbell, Adam Smiths Science of Morals (London, 1971). To these can be added, for acute treatment of the Umschwungstheorie: Richard Zeyss, Adam Smith und der Eigennutz (Tbingen, 1889); and August Oncken, The Consistency of Adam Smith, Economic Journal, vii (London, 1897), 44350, and in more detail, Das Adam SmithProblem, Zeitschrift fr Socialwissenschaft, ed. Julius Wolf, I Jahrgang (Berlin, 1898), 2533, 1018, 27687. See also A. L. Mace, The Individual in Society (London, 1967).

3. Reception
(a) Early comment and foreign translations Smiths reputation in Scotland was already established before 1759. The publication of TMS made him known and esteemed both in England and abroad. The immediate success of the book is delightfully described by Hume, writing from London in Letter 31, dated 12 April 1759. After

111

a teasing tale of alleged interruptions to his letter, he nally reaches the point, prefacing it with a reminder that popular opinion is worthless, as if to console Smith for a coming disappointment. Supposing, therefore, that you have duely prepard yourself for the worst by all these Reections; I proceed to tell you the melancholy News, that your Book has been very unfortunate: For the Public seem disposed to applaud it extremely. It was looked 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 Millars14 Shop in order to buy Copies, and to ask Questions about the Author: The Bishop of Peterborough said he had passed 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: . . . Lord Lyttleton says, that Robertson and Smith and Bower are the Glories of English Literature. Oswald15 protests he does not know whether he has reapd more Instruction or Entertainment from it: . . . Millar exults and brags that two thirds of the Edition are already sold, and that he is now sure of Success. . . . Charles Townsend, who passes for the cleverest Fellow in England, is so taken with the Performance, that he said to Oswald he woud put the Duke of Buccleugh under the Authors Care, and woud endeavour to make it worth his while to accept of that Charge. . . . At the beginning of the letter Hume says that he sent copies of the book to the Duke of Argyll, Lord Lyttelton, Horace Walpole, Soame Jenyns, and Edmund Burke (an Irish Gentleman, who wrote lately a very pretty Treatise on the Sublime). Their names, and also those of Charles Townshend and Mr. Solicitor General (i.e. Charles Yorke, referred to in Humes second letter below), are included in a list of recipients of complimentary copies that heads Letter 33, sent by Andrew Millar to Adam Smith on 26 April 1759. Hume wrote again to Smith on 28 July (Letter 36) to report further reactions. 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: . . . I am not acquainted with Jennyns; but he spoke very highly of the Book to Oswald, . . . Millar showd 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. Hume then proceeds to give Smith his own objection about sympathy, which we have discussed in section 2(a) above. The contemplation by Smith (and presumably Millar) of a second edition so soon after the publication of the rst is a further mark of the books success.

112

Burke did write to Smith, but not until the autumn. Meanwhile Smith had received additional testimony of the warm reception in London. William Robertson wrote to him from Edinburgh on 14 June (Letter 34): 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. In July 1759 a notice of the book appeared in the Monthly Review (xxi.118). It was unsigned, as was customary, but it has been identied as the work of William Rose.16 After some general introductory remarks on moral philosophy, he writes: The Author of the work now before us, however, bids fairer for a favourable hearing than most other moral Writers; his language is always perspicuous and forcible, and often elegant; his illustrations are beautiful and pertinent; and his manner lively and entertaining. Even the supercial and careless Reader, though incapable of forming a just judgment of our Authors system, and entering into his peculiar notions, will be pleased with his agreeable manner of illustrating his argument, by the frequent appeals he makes to fact and experience; and those who are judges of the subject, whatever opinion they may entertain of his peculiar sentiments, must, if they have any pretensions to candor, readily allow, that he has supported them with a great deal of ingenuity. The principle of Sympathy, on which he founds his system, is an unquestionable principle in human nature; but whether his reasonings upon it are just and satisfactory or not, we shall not take upon us to pronounce: it is sufcient to say, that they are extremely ingenious and plausible. He is, besides, a nice and delicate observer of human nature; seems well acquainted with the systems both of antient and modern moralists; and possesses the happy talent of treating the most intricate subjects not only with perspicuity but with elegance.We now proceed to give some account of what he has advanced. Then follows extensive quotation or summary of Smiths argument covering all six Parts of the book. When the reviewer gives Smiths criticism of utilitarian theory in Part IV, he names Hume as the target. A concluding paragraph reverts from quotation to appraisal and ends as follows: The last part of the Theory will be peculiarly agreeable to the learned reader, who will there nd a clear and distinct view of the several systems of moral philosophy, which have gained any considerable degree of reputation either in antient or modern times; with many pertinent and ingenious reections upon them. The whole work, indeed, shews a delicacy of sentiment, and acuteness of understanding, that are sel113

dom to be met with; and what ought particularly to be mentioned, there is the strictest regard preserved, throughout, to the principles of religion, so that the serious reader will nd nothing that can give him any just ground of offence.In a word, without any partiality to the author, he is one of the most elegant and agreeable writers, upon morals, that we are acquainted with. The Monthly Review was owned and edited by Ralph Grifths. In Letter 48 addressed to William Strahan, dated 4 April 1760, Smith asks to be remembered to Grifths and adds: I am greatly obliged to him for the very handsom character he gave of my book in his review. Burke wrote a review that was more handsome still, for his periodical, the Annual Register. But rst he sent a letter to Smith on 10 September 1759 (Letter 38), in which he gave his opinion at greater length and added some criticism. It will be remembered that Hume had expected Burke to thank Smith for a complimentary copy of TMS. In his letter Burke apologizes for the delay, pleading business and saying that he wanted to read the book with proper care and attention before writing. He then shows that he has indeed read it and reected on it with care. 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 ttest to explain those natural movements of the mind with which every Science relating to our Nature ought to begin. . . . 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 ne Picture of the Stoic Philosophy towards the end of your rst part which is dressed out in all the grandeur and Pomp that becomes that magnicent 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 innitely 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.

114

Burkes review in the Annual Register (year 1759, pp. 484 ff.) repeats some of the comments made in the private letter. After some general introductory remarks about this excellent work in which the parts grow so naturally and gracefully out of each other, the review goes on: There have been of late many books written on our moral duties, and our moral sanctions. One would have thought the matter had been exhausted. But this author has struck out a new, and at the same time a perfectly natural road of speculation on this subject. . . . We conceive, that here the theory is in all its essential parts just, and founded on truth and nature. The author seeks for the foundation of the just, the t, the proper, the decent, in our most common and most allowed passions; and making approbation and disapprobation the tests of virtue and vice, and shewing that those are founded on sympathy, he raises from this simple truth, one of the most beautiful fabrics of moral theory, that has perhaps ever appeared. The illustrations are numerous and happy, and shew the author to be a man of uncommon observation. His language is easy and spirited, and puts things before you in the fullest light; it is rather painting than writing. Charles Townshend, referred to in Humes rst letter, had married the widowed Countess of Dalkeith and was therefore the stepfather of the young Duke of Buccleuch. Townshend did eventually carry out the plan that Hume describes, of asking Smith to act as tutor to the Duke, on terms tempting enough for Smith to give up his Professorship at Glasgow. That is how Smith visited France and Geneva in 17646, and how he was able to retire thereafter to Kirkcaldy and devote himself to writing WN. Townshend was not alone in being led by TMS to think of using Smiths services as a teacher. Lord Buchan says he went to Glasgow after St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Oxford in order to learn from Smith and John Millar; but since this was in 1760 and since Millars appointment at Glasgow began in 1761, Buchan must in fact have been attracted in the rst place by the reputation of Smith alone.17 Another student who came from Oxford, in 1762, was Henry Herbert, later Lord Porchester.18 Some came from farther aeld. Thodore Tronchin, the celebrated physician of Geneva who attended Voltaire among others, sent his son to Glasgow in 1761, expressly to study under Mr. Smith.19 The international reputation of TMS is borne out by part of the resolution adopted by the University of Glasgow on 1 March 1764 accepting the resignation of Adam Smith, whose uncommon Genius, great Abilities and extensive Learning did so much Honour to this Society; His elegant and ingenious Theory of Moral Sentiments having recommended him to the esteem of Men of Taste and Literature throout Europe.20 The last two words are a pardonable exaggeration, but certainly in France the book was soon applauded. The Journal encyclopdique for October 1760 carried a notice consisting of a short extract followed by some favourable comment, perhaps echoing that of the Monthly Review. Cet Ouvrage Nous a paru recommandable par la force et la chaleur de son style, par la beaut et la noblesse des sentimens, par la nouveaut et la justesse des reexions, par le ton imposant des raisonnemens; mais ce qui le rend encore plus prcieux,
115

cest que tout y respire la vertu la plus pure, et que la Religion y est partout respecte.21 Hume went to France in 1763 as Secretary to the British Embassy, and shortly after his arrival he wrote to Smith from Fontainebleau in Letter 77, dated 28 October 1763: The Baron dHolbac, 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: . . . This was MarcAntoine Eidous, who had also translated Hutchesons Inquiry into Beauty and Virtue. His rendering of TMS appeared in 1764 under the title Mtaphysique de lme. A contemporary note in F.M. de Grimms Correspondance littraire (Part I, vol. iv, 291 f.) says that the work did not have any success in Paris to match its reputation in Britain, but that this was due to the defects of the translation and was no argument against its merit.22 However, Parisians of literary tastes were perfectly capable of reading TMS in English. The Abb Morellet records that he did so.23 The Comtesse de BoufersRouverel wrote in a letter of 6 May 1766 to Hume that she had begun to read TMS and thought she would like it.24 There is another record, a few years later, of the interest of Madame de Boufers and of other Parisians in TMS. Gilbert and Hugh Elliot, the young sons of Sir Gilbert Elliot, were in Paris in 1770, and a letter from Hugh describes a visit to Madame de Boufers. She received us very kindly, and spoke about all our Scotch and English authors; if she had time, she would set about translating Mr. Smiths Moral SentimentsIl a des ides si justes de la sympathie. This book is now in great vogue here; this doctrine of sympathy bids fair for cutting out David Humes Immaterialism, especially with the ladies, ever since they heard of his marriage.25 Another member of the French nobility who contemplated, and indeed began, a translation of TMS was LouisAlexandre, Duc de La RochefoucaulddAnville, a descendant of the author of the Maximes. He abandoned the task after completing Part I, because of the appearance of a translation by the Abb Blavet.26 Blavets translation was of edition 3 (1767) and was published in 17745. Yet another French translation, of edition 7 (1792), appeared in 1798. This was by Sophie de Grouchy, widow of Condorcet, who appended some essays of her own (in the form of letters) on the topic of sympathy. Eckstein (intro. xxxii ff.) has brought together evidence of the reception of TMS in Germany. Lessing mentions the book in his celebrated work on aesthetics, Laokoon (1766), quoting a passage, in his own translation, from I.ii.1. Herder makes several references to it, the earliest one being in his aesthetic work, Kritische Wlder (1769). The rst German translation was of edition 3 and appeared in 1770. The name of the translator is not stated but he was in fact Christian Gnther Rautenberg, who had already translated Lord Kamess Principles of Morality and Natural Religion. It seems that Kant knew and valued TMS, judging from a letter of 1771 written to him by one Markus Herz. A passage in this letter speaks of the Englishman Smith, who, Mr. Friedlnder tells me, is your favourite (Liebling), and then goes on to compare the work of Smith with the rst part of Home, Kritik, no doubt meaning Elements of Criticism by Henry Home, Lord Kames. As Eckstein points out, the date of 1771 (too early for WN and one year after the publication of the
116

rst German translation of TMS) and the comparison with Kames show that the writer must have had TMS in mind. The passage also suggests that Herz at least, like Lessing and Herder, was interested in the relevance of TMS to aesthetics. It is unlikely, however, that Kants own regard for the work will have been thus conned. Eckstein goes on to note that there is a passage in Kants Reections on Anthropology where Kant writes of the man who goes to the root of things and who looks at every subject not just from his own point of view but from that of the community and then adds, in brackets, the Impartial Spectator (der Unpartheyische Zuschauer). A second German translation, by Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten, was published in 1791, presumably made from edition 4 or 5. Kosegarten produced a supplementary volume in 1795, containing a translation of the main additions of edition 6, and of the whole of Part III as revised for that edition. A third German translation, that of Walther Eckstein, appeared in 1926. This is more than a translation. It contains a careful record of practically all the revisions of substance that were made in the different editions of TMS; it is annotated in detail; and its long Introduction is a valuable contribution to knowledge. The work is indeed the rst scholarly edition of TMS, and its scholarship is of a high order. We are greatly indebted to it as the startingpoint for many of our own notes and for some of the information given in our Introduction. A further German translation by Elisa von LoeschebrandHorn was published in 1949 as the rst volume of selections from the works of Adam Smith, edited by Hans Georg Schachtschabel. We have not seen this version, but the description of the edition and the length of the volume concerned (338 pp.) suggest that it does not include the whole of TMS. In Russia Smith was well known as an economist, little as a moral philosopher. One of his Russian pupils, however, Semyon Desnitsky, who later became a Professor of Law at Moscow University, made some use of TMS (and much of LJ) in his lectures. In a work of 1770 he said that he hoped to publish a Russian translation of TMS, but for some reason he did not carry out the intention.27 A Russian translation by P. A. Bibikov appeared in 1868. A Spanish translation by Edmund OGorman was published in Mexico in 1941. A Japanese translation by Tomio Yonebayashi was published in 19489 and was reprinted in 1954. See also p. 402 below. (b) Select bibliography 1. Editions of TMS Editions authorized by Adam Smith (all imprinted London and Edinburgh): Ed. 1, 1759; ed. 2, 1761; ed. 3, 1767; ed. 4, 1774; ed. 5, 1781; ed. 6, 2 vols., 1790. Other editions (this list is almost certainly incomplete):

117

Dublin, 1777 (called the sixth edition); ed. 7, 2 vols., London and Edinburgh, 1792; Basel, 1793; ed. 8, 2 vols., London, 1797; ed. 9, 2 vols., London, 1801; ed. 10, 2 vols., London, 1804; 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1808; Glasgow, 1809; London, 1812; 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1813; Boston, 1817; Philadelphia, 1817; New York, 1821; 2 vols., New York, 1822; 2 vols., London, 1825; London, 1846; Edinburgh, 1849; London, 1853; London, 1861; London, 1871; Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, in or before 1876; London, 1880; Boston and New York, 1887; London, 1887; London, 1892; Edinburgh, 1894; London, 1907; London, 1911; Kyoto, 1961; New York, 1966; New Rochelle, N.Y., 1969. TMS is also published in vol. i of The Works of Adam Smith, London, 1812; reprinted, Aalen, 1963; in vol. i of The Whole Works of Adam Smith, London, 1822; in vols. ivv of The Works of Adam Smith, London, 1825; and in Essays, Philosophical and Literary, London, 1869; reprinted, New York, in or before 1876; reprinted, London, 1880. 2. Translations French: 1. Mtaphysique de lme: ou Thorie des sentimens moraux [translated by MarcAntoine Eidous]; 2 vols., Paris, 1764. 2. Thorie des sentimens moraux, translated by lAbb Blavet; 2 vols., Paris, 17745; reprinted, Paris, 1782. 3. Thorie des sentimens moraux, translated from ed. 7 by Sophie de Grouchy, Marquise de Condorcet; 2 vols., Paris, 1798; reprinted, Paris, 1820; revised ed., Paris, 1830; republished with introduction and notes by Henri Baudrillart, Paris, 1860. German: 1. Theorie der moralischen Empndungen, translated from ed. 3 [by Christian Gnther Rautenberg]; Braunschweig, 1770. 2. Theorie der sittlichen Gefhle, translated and edited by Ludwig Theobul Kosegarten; Leipzig, 1791: vol. ii, containing the additions to ed. 6; Leipzig, 1795. 3. Theorie der ethischen Gefhle, translated (from ed. 6 but including variants in earlier eds.) and edited by Walther Eckstein; 2 vols., Leipzig, 1926. 4. Theorie der ethischen Gefhle, translated by Elisa von LoeschebrandHorn (vol. i of Smith, Werke, selected and edited by Hans Georg Schachtschabel); Frankfurt, 1949. Russian: Teoriya Nravstvennykh Chuvstv, translated by P. A. Bibikov; St. Petersburg, 1868. Spanish:

118

Teora de los sentimientos morales, translated by Edmund OGorman, introduced by Edward Nicol; Pnuco, Mexico, 1941. Japanese: Dtoku Js Ron, translated by Tomio Yonebayashi; 2 vols., Tokyo, 19489; reprinted, Tokyo, 1954. See also p. 402 below. 3. Discussion This list is restricted to books and published theses that contain a substantial treatment of Smiths ethical thought. (Even as such it is no doubt incomplete.) It does not include articles nor, except incidentally, books dealing with his other writings. Readers who wish to supplement it should consult the bibliographies in: Eckstein, i.lxxiv ff; The Vanderblue Memorial Collection of Smithiana (Baker Library, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration; Boston, 1939): Burt Franklin and Francesco G. M. Cordasco, Adam Smith: A Bibliographical Checklist; critical writings and scholarship on Smith, 18761950 (New York, 1950); and Keitaro Amano, Bibliography of the Classical Economics, Part I (Science Council of Japan, Economic Series No. 27; Tokyo, 1961). The most important works concerned with the Adam Smith problem have been listed in section 2(b) above. Thomas Brown, Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol. iv; Edinburgh, 1820. Reprinted in Lectures on Ethics; Edinburgh, 1846. Victor Cousin, Cours dhistoire de la philosophie morale aux dixhuitime sicle, vol. iii, cole cossaise; Paris, 1840. August Oncken, Adam Smith und Immanuel Kant; Leipzig, 1877. Witold von Skaryski, Adam Smith als Moralphilosoph und Schoepfer der Nationaloekonomie; Berlin, 1878. James Anson Farrer, Adam Smith; London, 1881. Richard Zeyss, Adam Smith und der Eigennutz; Tbingen, 1889. Wilhelm Paszkowski, Adam Smith als Moralphilosoph; Halle, 1890. Johannes Schubert, Adam Smiths Moralphilosophie; Leipzig, 1890 and 1891. Ethel Muir, The Ethical System of Adam Smith; Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1898. Johan Gerrit Appeldoorn, De Leer der Sympathie bij David Hume en Adam Smith; Drachten, 1903. Albion Woodbury Small, Adam Smith and Modern Sociology; Chicago, 1907. Ludovico Limentani, La morale della simpatia; Genoa, 1914.

119

Giovanni Pioli, Letica della simpatia nella Teoria dei Sentimenti Morali di Adamo Smith; Rome, 1920. Glen Raymond Morrow, The Ethical and Economic Theories of Adam Smith; New York, 1923. James Bonar, Moral Sense; London and New York, 1930. Manuel Fuentes Irurozqui, El moralista Adam Smith, economista; Madrid, 1944. Luigi Bagolini, La simpatia nella morale e nel diritto; Bologna, 1952; ed. 2, revised and extended, Turin, 1966. Giulio Preti, Alle origini dell etica contemporeana: Adamo Smith; Bari, 1957. Alec Lawrence Mace, The Individual in Society; London, 1967. Thomas Douglas Campbell, Adam Smiths Science of Morals; London, 1971.

4. The Text
(a) Account of editions 17 Six authorized editions of TMS were published in Adam Smiths lifetime. Edition 6, which incorporated extensive additions and substantial revision of other kinds, appeared in 1790, a few weeks before his death. In Letter 295 addressed to Thomas Cadell, his publisher, dated 25 May 1790, Smith acknowledges the receipt of his twelve copies of this edition. Glasgow University Library possesses one of them, presented by Smith to a friend and inscribed in his own hand. We have collated copies of all these six editions, and also of edition 7 (published in 1792) since it is in principle possible that some of the minor changes in edition 7 were corrections made by the author after going through edition 6. This is in fact unlikely, because Smith was already very ill by the time that edition 6 appeared. There is also some internal evidence against it: in VII.ii.4.3, editions 6 and 7 intelligibly but mistakenly print lawful instead of awful, and if Smith had corrected edition 6 he would almost certainly have picked up this error, while a printer, less familiar with the doctrines of the book as a whole, would not have recognized it as an error. Nevertheless there are a few places in which edition 7 does correct errors (as well as some where it introduces new ones, and a number where it revises punctuation or spelling), so that it is as well to include the variants of edition 7 in the collation. John Raes account, in his Life of Adam Smith, of the different editions of TMS is erroneous in several respects. On p. 141 he says that edition 1 was published in two volumes, while in fact it was a single volume. On pp. 1489 he writes: The second edition of the Theory, which Hume was anticipating immediately in 1759, did not appear till 1761, and it contained none of the alterations or additions he expected; but the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages was for the rst time published along with it. The reason for the omission of the other additions is difcult to
120

discover, for the author had not only prepared them, but gone the length of placing them in the printers hands in 1760, as appears from the following letter [Letter 50 addressed to William Strahan, the printer, dated 4 April 1760]. They did not appear either in the third edition in 1767, or the fourth in 1774, or the fth in 1781; nor till the sixth, which was published, with considerable additions and corrections, immediately before the authors death in 1790. On p. 425 Rae repeats the gist of this by saying of the projected edition 6: The book had been thirty years before the world and had passed through ve editions, but it had never undergone any revision or alteration whatever. In fact edition 2 is considerably revised when compared with edition 1. Although the alterations and additions are not as extensive as in edition 6, they are very substantial and are perfectly consistent with Letter 50. The particular addition which Hume was expecting in answer to his criticism made in Letter 36 addressed to Smith, dated 28 July 1759, appears as a footnote to I.iii.1.9. The Dissertation on the Origin of Languages, however, was rst appended, not to edition 2 of TMS, but to edition 3, having previously been published in the Philological Miscellany, vol. i, in 1761. Editions 3, 4, and 5 of TMS each contain some minor revision by the author. We have used two copies of edition 1, one belonging to Glasgow University Library, the other to the Bodleian Library, and have found no differences between them. Edition 1 is a single octavo volume of [xii] + 552 pages, the last page containing a list of Errata (two of which, being respectively on the rst and last lines of a page, have in fact already been corrected in the text). The titlepage describes the work simply as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the author as Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. The book is imprinted 1759, London and Edinburgh. In Letter 33 addressed to Smith, dated 26 April 1759, the London publisher, Andrew Millar, wrote: I reed the errata which are printed, . . . I have no Sort of doubt of this Impression being Soon gone tho it will not be published till next Week, . . . We have used three copies of edition 2, two from Glasgow University Library and one from the Bodleian. One of the Glasgow copies is defective, lacking the nal Part; but since this particular volume is not in its original binding, it is likely that it was complete when rst issued. In other respects (e.g. broken letters and misprints) it is identical with the other two copies. Edition 2, like edition 1, is a single octavo volume, but is completely reset in a new form. The pages are slightly longer than those of edition 1, the type is a little smaller, and there is less space between the lines. This edition contains [x] + 436 pages, with no list of Errata. The titlepage follows that of edition 1 in its description of the book and author, and is likewise imprinted as being published at London and Edinburgh. It bears the date 1761, but copies must have been available, at least to the author if not to the public, at the end of 1760, since Smith sent a list of Errata with Letter 54 addressed to William Strahan, dated 30 December 1760. The letter begins: My Dear Strahan The opposite leaf will set before your eyes the manifold sins and iniquities you have been guilty of in printing my book. The rst six, at least the rst, third and fourth and sixth are what you call sins against the holy Ghost which cannot upon any

121

account be pardoned. The Remainder are capable of remission in case of repentance, humiliation and contrition. W. R. Scott printed this letter in his book, Adam Smith as Student and Professor, but without the list of Errata that accompanied it. The sheet of Errata was traced by Professor Ernest C. Mossner in the course of preparing the volume of Correspondence for the present edition of Smiths Works. The Errata relate to edition 2 of TMS. They are divided into two groups. The rst group of six is preceded by the statement, The following Errata must be corrected as totally disguring the sense, which is why the letter calls them sins against the Holy Ghost. Some indeed not only disgure but atly contradict the sense required: approbation for disapprobation, utility for inutility, and pleased for displeased. All six of this rst group of errors are corrected in edition 3. The second group consists of twentyve errors, seven of which are corrected in edition 3, three in edition 4, and four in edition 6; one further error is avoided in edition 6 by a new form of correction (Smith had evidently forgotten the original list by this time); the remaining ten have never been corrected before the present edition. Since the list of Errata was no doubt intended to be printed with any further impressions of edition 2, we have treated it as if it had been, incorporating Smiths revisions (apart from the one which he rephrased for edition 6) in our text. Edition 2 contains substantial revisions of edition 1. A couple of the changes are merely formal: Section ii of Part I in edition 1 becomes Chapters 25 of Section i, and the Sections of Parts IIIV become Chapters. Throughout the book there are quite a large number of minor stylistic improvements. The footnote at I.iii.1.9, in reply to Humes criticism, is added. After III.1.4, edition 1 had three paragraphs; edition 2 transfers the rst to a later position, withdraws the second (substituting for it, in the present 6, an improved version of the same thought), and retains the third with slight revision but in a new position. At the end of III.1.5, edition 2 withdraws a paragraph that was in edition 1, and adds 6, the improved version of the paragraph withdrawn earlier. In what was III.ii of edition 1, and III.2 of editions 25 (see the present III.2.31 and III.3.15, 79, 11), edition 2 adds sixteen new paragraphs; these include an important development of the theory of the impartial spectator so as to provide a genetic explanation of conscience. Consequently, edition 2 is not quite the same book as edition 1, though the changes are not on the scale of those made in edition 6. Smith mentioned the changes in Letter 50 addressed to William Strahan, dated 4 April 1760, to which Rae refers in the passage quoted earlier from Life, 1489. We give part of the rst paragraph of this letter. I sent up to Mr Millar four or ve 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. . . . 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

122

greatly: I know how much I shall be benetted 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. Apart from changes in substantives (i.e. in the words as conveyors of meaning), there are in edition 2 numerous revisions of accidentals (i.e. of punctuation, spelling, division of words, and use of capital or lowercase letters and of roman or italic type). Many of them will have been introduced by the printer, but it cannot be assumed that all were. Some of the changes in punctuation, such as the substitution of a full point and new sentence for a semicolon, are almost certainly due to the author. The revision of chapter headings, so as to replace roman by italic type, is likely at least to have had Smiths approval, since in Letter 276 addressed to Thomas Cadell (Millars successor as publisher), dated 15 March 1788, he himself uses this style to refer to chapter headings. Letter 50 addressed to Strahan, dated 4 April 1760 and quoted above, shows the care that Smith took in revising the work and in giving instructions to the printer. Editions 3, 4, and 5 have the same size, format, pagination, and (in general) division of lines as edition 2, but with the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages added. None of them, however, is a reprint from standing type. Each has been composed anew, but following the pages and (mostly) the line divisions of the previous edition, a frequent printing practice of the time, used in order to allow different parts of a book to be set up in type by different compositors working simultaneously. Our evidence for saying that no edition is a reprint is twofold. The mere fact that there is sometimes a different division of lines is of course not conclusive, since a compositor using standing type would reset some lines in order to accommodate revisions or to improve bad spacing. But, in the rst place, misprints in these particular editions have been introduced when the compositor had no reason whatever to reset a line. Secondly, a test suggested by R. B. McKerrow, of laying a ruler across two full points and seeing whether it always cuts the same letters, shows conclusively that even when there is no change in the text, the later edition has been recomposed. We have used two copies of edition 3, one from Glasgow University Library, the other from the Bodleian, and have found no differences between them. Edition 3 is a single octavo volume of [viii] + 478 pages, with no list of Errata. The text of TMS ends at p. 436, and pp. 43778 contain the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages. There is in consequence a new form of titlepage, which describes the contents of the book as: The Theory of Moral Sentiments. To which is added A Dissertation on the Origin of Languages. The author is now called Adam Smith, L.L.D. with no reference to his former Professorship at the University of Glasgow, which Smith had resigned in 1764. In Letter 100 addressed to William Strahan (undated but probably written in the winter of 17667), Smith refers to the forthcoming edition 3 and asks that he be called simply Adam Smith without any addition before or behind. Presumably he would have preferred to dispense even with the insertion of his LL.D. Edition 3 was published at London and Edinburgh in 1767.

123

As is to be expected in a linebyline repetition of an earlier edition, the revision of substantives in edition 3 is light, though not negligible. Two groups of these minor changes are of interest and have a related character. In a theological passage at II.ii.3.12 and the paragraph that then followed it, the categorical tone of certain phrases is softened to a problematic one; for example, religion authorises becomes religion, we suppose, authorises, and neither can he [man] see any reason becomes and he thinks he can see no reason. Similarly, in passage at V.2.5 about the character of the clergyman, two instances of is are altered to seems to be and is supposed to be. Since the treatment in edition 6 of the former passage became the subject of controversy after Smiths death, the change of tone in 1767 is of some signicance. There is also in edition 3 a fair amount of revision in accidentals, probably due in the main to the printer on this occasion. As has already been stated, some of the mistakes (including all of the rst group) listed in the draft Errata page for edition 2 are corrected, but many are left uncorrected. The printer has corrected a few further misprints of edition 2, has introduced a number of new ones, and has changed the punctuation quite often and the spelling occasionally. The Dissertation on the Origin of Languages was evidently set up, not from manuscript, but from a copy of the printed version that had already appeared in the Philological Miscellany, vol. i (London, 1761), for in Letter 100 addressed to Strahan, Smith wrote: 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. In fact there is no separate titlepage for the Dissertation. The reference in the letter to the printed copy may have conrmed Raes mistaken impression (shared by Dugald Stewart in his Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, II.44) that the Dissertation was rst printed in edition 2 of TMS, for he repeats the statement on p. 233 of his Life, before giving the text of the letter. In the present edition of Smiths Works the Dissertation on the Origin of Languages is being published together with LRBL. The relevant volume will include a collation of the text of the Dissertation in the Philological Miscellany and in the different editions of TMS. We have used one copy of edition 4, belonging to the Aberdeen Public Library. Edition 4 is, like edition 3, a single octavo volume of [viii] + 478 pages, but these are followed on this occasion by two pages of advertisement. The titlepage is different, however, in adding to the description of the main work: The Theory of Moral Sentiments, or An Essay towards an Analysis of the Principles by which Men naturally judge concerning the Conduct and Character, rst of their Neighbours, and afterwards of themselves. The author remains Adam Smith, LL.D. Edition 4 was published in 1774 at London and Edinburgh. Edition 4 was set up from a copy of edition 3. It includes the latters intentional revisions, both in substantives and in accidentals, but it corrects most of the misprints introduced in edition

124

3. In fact, whereas the compositors of edition 3 were rather careless, the printer evidently took great pains with edition 4 to secure accuracy and consistency. There are very few misprints, and the many revisions of accidentals are made with intelligence. They include modernization of such words as compleat (though only from what was then I.iii.3), meer, antient, falshood, vitious; relative consistency in the spelling of words (e.g. sympathize, entire) which had previously been spelt inconsistently; and the removal of nearly all the remaining instances (usually at the end of a line) of the contracted form tho. There are again, as in edition 3, a few minor changes in substantives, and some at least of these are such that they must have been made by the author. We have used two copies of edition 5, both belonging to Glasgow University Library, and have found no differences between them. Edition 5 is, like edition 4, a single octavo volume of [viii] + 478 pages together with the same two pages of advertisement. The titlepage follows that of its predecessor. Edition 5 was published in 1781 at London and Edinburgh. It contains a fair number of revisions of accidentals, chiey in punctuation, but occasionally in spelling; e.g. it reverts from the spelling blamable of edition 4 to the spelling blameable of editions 13. Nevertheless it must have been set up from a copy of edition 4 and not from one of the earlier editions, since it includes all the revisions of substantives, and most of the revisions of accidentals, that were made in edition 4. It also includes a few further revisions in substantives, of a minor character. The changes in accidentals, especially in punctuation, are usually sensible, though sometimes pernickety, and are such as one would expect to be carried over by the printer of the next edition. In fact, however, most of the revisions of accidentals in edition 5, and all of its revisions of substantives, are not carried over to edition 6, though a minority of the accidentals are. This must mean that the printer of edition 6 worked from a revised copy of edition 4, and not from one of edition 5. Why, then, it may be asked, are certain of the revisions of accidentals in edition 5 carried over? It is conceivable that the printer of edition 6 had at hand an unrevised copy of edition 5 also, but since edition 6 does not contain the substantive revisions of edition 5, this is most improbable. It is more likely that those revisions of accidentals which are repeated in edition 6 were introduced anew by the printer or the author for the same sort of reasons that had caused them to be inserted in edition 5. We say the printer or the author because it is quite likely that some of the changes in accidentals were made by Adam Smith himself. There is at least one instance (the last sentence of I.iii.1) where the substitution of an exclamation mark in edition 5 for a question mark in edition 4 is essential to restore the required sense (editions 13 had printed an innocuous full point), but this would not be perceived by a printer, who would not know whether the Duke of Birons tears did or did not disgrace his memory. In this instance, the revision is not repeated in edition 6, which reverts to the misleading question mark of edition 4. Most of the revisions of accidentals which are carried over from edition 5 to edition 6 are in fact of a kind that one could expect to be reintroduced in a later revision of edition 4. There is, however, one place (VII.ii.1.1618) where, for a few pages, edition 6 follows the accidentals of
125

edition 5, as against those of edition 4, to an extent that suggests more than coincidence. It looks as if the printer were using, at this point, printed copy from pages of edition 5. Signicantly, the passage is one (on the Stoics) that has been transposed from Part I, with some cancellation. It seems probable that the particular circumstances of revision of this passage made it necessary for Smith to use a second set of the printed pages, and that he took these from a copy of edition 5. What of the minor changes of substantives in edition 5, none of which is carried over to edition 6? It cannot be assumed mechanically that changes in substantives are due to the author. Indeed one of those in edition 5 (at VII.iii.3.17) cannot have been made by the author since it is clearly an error, giving a sense opposite to that required. On the other hand, two of the changes in substantives, though of a minor character like the rest, could not possibly have been introduced by the printer. We can therefore be certain that Adam Smith himself made some light revision of edition 4 for the printing of edition 5. He must, however, have forgotten this when he again used a copy of edition 4 in revising for edition 6. This supposition is conrmed by the conclusion already reached, that he was ready to substitute a few pages of edition 5 for those of edition 4 when working out his transposition and partial cancellation of the passage on the Stoics. He must have thought that the two editions were identical. The hypothesis that Smith had forgotten his light revision for edition 5 is less implausible than it sounds. During these years he was heavily preoccupied with more important matters than imperfections of detail in TMS. Furthermore, we can infer with certainty an analogous lapse of memory. We know that Smith compiled a long list of minor errata (as well as a few major ones) in edition 2; and since ten of his corrections were never introduced into the later editions, we are entitled to conclude that Smith had forgotten all about the list. This is especially clear from the one instance (II.iii.intro.1) where he saw, when revising for edition 6, that a mistake had been made, but corrected it in a different manner. We have used four copies of edition 6, three from Glasgow University Library and one from the Bodleian. One of the Glasgow copies had pp. 14558 of Volume I bound up between pp. 128 and 129. This particular copy is not in its original binding, and the error is likely to have occurred when the volume was rebound. Otherwise there is no difference between the four copies, except in details of the gilt design on the covers of those that still have their original binding. Edition 6 is in two volumes octavo. Volume I has xvi + 488 pages, and contains Parts IIV of TMS. Volume II has viii + 462 pages; it contains Parts VVII of TMS, which ends on p. 399, and the Dissertation on Languages, which occupies pp. 40162. Edition 6 is of course completely reset and is quite different typographically from its predecessors. The actual type is of the same size as that used for editions 25, but there is more space between the lines, as there was in edition 1. But since edition 1 also had slightly larger type, edition 6 has the neatest appearance of all and is the easiest to read. There are line spaces between the paragraphs in edition 6, but not in any of the earlier editions. The titlepage of each volume of edition 6 follows editions 4 and 5 in its description of the contents, but the author is now called Adam Smith, LL.D. Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh; One of the Commissioners of his Majestys Customs in Scotland; and formerly Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. The ti126

tlepages also state that edition 6 is with considerable additions and corrections. The edition was published in 1790 at London and Edinburgh. Two letters of Adam Smith to Thomas Cadell speak of his work of revising TMS for the enlarged edition. In Letter 276, dated 15 March 1788, he wrote: . . . I am at present giving the most intense application. My subject is the theory of moral Sentiments, to all parts of which I am making many additions and corrections. The chief and the most important additions will be to the third part, that concerning the sense of Duty and to the last part concerning the History of moral Philosophy. . . . I am a slow a very slow workman, who do and undo everything I write at least half a dozen of times before I can be tolerably pleased with it; and tho I have now, I think, brought my work within compass, yet it will be the month of June before I shall be able to send it to you. In fact the work took even longer than he anticipated, and on 31 March 1789 (Letter 287) he wrote again: Ever since I wrote to you last I have been labouring very hard in preparing the proposed new edition of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. . . . Besides the Additions and Improvements I mentioned to you; I have inserted, immediately after the fth part, a compleat new sixth part containing a practical system of Morality, under the title of the Character of Virtue. The Book now will consist of seven Parts and will make two pretty large 8 vo. Volumes. After all my labours, however, I am afraid it will be Midsummer before I can get the whole Manuscript in such proper order as to send it to you. I am very much ashamed of this delay; but the subject has grown upon me. Smiths estimate that he would be ready by the summer of 1789 was again overoptimistic. Stewart, V.9, says of the publication of edition 6 in 1790 that the additions had been sent to the press in the beginning of the preceding winter, presumably about December 1789. Edition 6 begins with an added Advertisement, which appears to say that the revisions had been contemplated over a long period, and briey mentions the main changes made. A more detailed account of the major changes is as follows. In the footnote to I.iii.1.9, which had been added in edition 2, edition 6 omits the nal sentence. At I.iii.2.9, editions 15 began a fresh chapter on the Stoical Philosophy; in edition 6, part of the material is transferred to VII.ii.1.23 and 20, part is withdrawn, and a sentence is added at the beginning of I.iii.2.9 so as to connect the preceding discussion with what follows. I.iii.3 is a new chapter, in which the social advantages of admiration for the rich and the great are qualied by its corrupting effect on moral approbation. At the conclusion of II.ii.3.12, a sentence is added to replace a paragraph which had previously followed 12 and which is now withdrawn; this particular revision, as we have already mentioned in our account of edition 3, was later the subject of controversy; we discuss it in Appendix II, where we also give new information about a manuscript fragment that has been supposed to be connected with Smiths revision of the passage. At II.iii.3.45, one and a half paragraphs are added on the concept of piacular guilt, a topic referred to again in new material at VII.iv.30. At
127

III.1.2, the major part of what was Chapter 1 in editions 25 (Section i in edition 1) is transferred to become part of Chapter 2, and what was formerly Chapter 2 (Section ii in edition 1) becomes Chapter 1, with a few linking sentences. Most of III.2 is new, but three paragraphs ( 4, 5, and the major part of 9) have been transferred from what was III.1 in editions 25; the new material includes a further development of the theory of conscience so as to distinguish the sense of praiseworthiness from the consciousness of being actually praised by others; at the same time some caution is introduced about the reliability and the efcacy of the judgements of conscience in the face of erroneous judgement by the outside world. At III.3, a fresh chapter, with an addition to the beginning of 1, is begun, taking up material which in editions 25 was part of III.2; one and a half paragraphs are added at 56; 10 is new; one and a half paragraphs are withdrawn at 11; and there is a lengthy addition at 1245, mainly on selfcommand, with some further development again of the theory of the impartial spectator and conscience. III.4 is largely a revised version of what was the latter part of III.2 in editions 25. The whole of Part VI is new; it deals with certain practical and political applications of moral theory, and especially with the virtues of prudence, benevolence, and selfcommand (already the subject of new material in III.3), and the vices of pride and vanity. In VII.ii.1, there is rearrangement and development of Smiths account of Stoicism: at 17, a passage is withdrawn; at the end of 18, a sentence is added; after 19, one paragraph is withdrawn, 20 has been transferred from Part I, 212 are added, and 23 is another insertion of a passage formerly in Part I; 2447 are new, dealing mainly with the Stoic view of suicide. Edition 6 then reverts to the text of editions 15 at 48, but adds a short paragraph at 49. At VII.ii.4, where the earlier editions had linked La Rochefoucauld with Mandeville as the authors of licentious systems, all references to La Rochefoucauld are withdrawn. In VII.4, a new passage is added at 237 and the beginning of 28, developing Smiths views on veracity and deceit; a passage that had formed the latter part of 28 is withdrawn; and three new paragraphs are added at 2931, again on deceit and with a further reference to piacular guilt. Edition 6 also contains many minor revisions, both of substantives and of accidentals. Some of the changes in accidentals appear to be due to the author himself. Quite frequently, punctuation which has been left unchanged in all the editions from 1 to 5 is revised in edition 6; and while one cannot be certain that this is not the work of the printer, anxious to do his part in producing a highly superior edition, it seems likely that Smith himself will have paid attention to these details, as to others. We have already given, in our account of edition 5, the evidence for believing that both author and printer used a revised copy of edition 4 in preparing most of the older material for incorporation in edition 6. In matters of spelling and the use of initial capital letters, edition 6 generally follows and takes farther the revisions of edition 4, which had made fairly radical changes from the practice of the earlier editions. There are some exceptions. For example, editions 13 tended, though not uniformly, to print the word nature with a lowercase initial letter, even when Smith personies nature, as he frequently does. Edition 4 uses a capital letter for most instances of personication or nearpersonication. Edition 6 follows edition 4 in the old material, but in the new material it sometimes uses a capital letter, more commonly a lowercase. An128

other example is the use of a capital initial letter for the word gods when referring to pagan deities. Editions 13 had done this at times. Edition 4 changed the capital letter to lowercase. Edition 6 prints a capital letter both in old and in new material, but a lowercase initial for the one instance of goddess. This simply means that the printers were accustomed to use the capital letter for the word God and did not stop to distinguish, as the reviser for edition 4 did, between the Christian God and pagan gods. We have used two copies of edition 7, one from Glasgow University Library, the other from the Bodleian, and have found no differences between them. Edition 7 resembles edition 6 very closely. Like its predecessor, it is in two octavo volumes, the rst of xvi + 488 pages, the second of viii + 462 pages. The titlepages follow those of edition 6, except that the words with considerable additions and corrections are properly omitted since the revisions are not new in this edition. The Advertisement, however, is repeated without any indication that it was written for edition 6, and in consequence some of its words appear incongruous in 1792, the year in which edition 7 was published at London and Edinburgh. Edition 7 has the same pagination, and generally the same division of lines, as edition 6. It is not a reprint, but has been set up so as to follow edition 6 line by line, in the same way as editions 35 were each set up to follow their predecessors. The tests that establish this for editions 35 show it to be true of edition 7 also. Edition 7 corrects a few misprints of edition 6, introduces some new misprints or other errors, and resets a few lines so as to improve spacing. There are some changes in accidentals, chiey punctuation. For the reasons given at the beginning of this section, it is practically certain that the compositors of edition 7 did not have any authors corrections of edition 6 to guide them. An unauthorized edition of TMS was published in Dublin, bearing the date 1777 and calling itself the sixth edition. The Library of Trinity College, Dublin, possesses a copy (another is in the Goldsmiths Library, London) and we have examined a Xerox of it. The Dublin edition seems clearly to have been set up from a copy of edition 4 but it is quite different from editions 3, 4, and 5 in format, pagination, and division of lines. It is a single octavo volume of [viii] + 426 pages. The text of TMS occupies pp. 1388, and the Dissertation on Languages pp. 389426. On the titlepage the account of the contents is the same as in editions 4 and 5, but the author is differently described as Adam Smith, L.L.D. F.R.S. Formerly Professor of Philosophy in the University of Glasgow; and Author of the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations. The date of 1777 is consonant with the mention, albeit incorrect (Cause instead of Causes), of the title of WN, which rst appeared in 1776 and named its author as Adam Smith, LL.D. and F.R.S. Formerly Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. The text of the Dublin edition departs at times from that of editions 4 and 5 in accidentals. It commonly agrees with edition 4 where that differs from edition 5, so there is little doubt that the Dublin printer followed edition 4 (1774) and not edition 5 (1781), and this again ts the date of 1777. There is no reason to suppose that Adam Smith consented to, or even knew of, the publication of the Dublin edition, and therefore we have ignored it in our collation of variants.

129

(b) Editorial policy In the preparation of a critical edition of a work from printed books, bibliographical scholars of the present day attach great importance to the principles laid down by Sir Walter Greg in his paper, The Rationale of CopyText, rst published in Studies in Bibliography (University of Virginia), vol. iii (1950), and reprinted in W. W. Greg, Collected Papers, edited by J. C. Maxwell (Oxford, 1966). In that paper Greg drew, and explained the importance of, the distinction between the two kinds of variants to be found in the different editions of a book, changes in substantives and changes in accidentals. So long as one is dealing with editions which can be assumed to have received revision by the author, changes in substantives can usually, though not always, be attributed to him, while changes in accidentals (of books printed some considerable time ago) can often, but again certainly not always, be attributed to the printer. Consequently, bibliographical scholars recommend that, in order to elicit a text that gives the nearest possible approach to the authors intentions, the editor of a critical edition should, in the absence of a manuscript, make the rst edition of a work his copytext; he should then proceed, through each successive edition that appeared during the authors lifetime, to the rst of the posthumous editions, if there are any such, keeping in mind the distinction between substantives and accidentals when introducing revisions. As a general rule, but one to be applied with judgement and discretion, they advise an editor, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to include changes in substantives, provided that such changes make good sense, and to exclude changes in accidentals, on the ground that these were probably due to the printer. To this general rule there are naturally exceptions. One class of works that cannot easily be subjected to it are those for which an edition later than the rst is known to have been extensively and carefully revised by the author. TMS falls into this class. To follow the usual rule for this book would in fact produce a curious patchwork. There is no doubt that the printers of edition 1 of TMS followed their manuscript copy fairly closely. Edition 1 frequently, though not consistently, uses antique spellings such as compleat, antient, chearful, cloaths, intire, and the contractions tho and thro, all of which we know were used by Adam Smith or his amanuenses. These older or abbreviated forms were gradually removed in later editions, especially in 4 and 6. We can also be fairly sure that many of the revisions in punctuation were made by the printers, though there is good evidence that some of them were made by the author. While it is a hazardous business to judge which revisions of accidentals are due to the author, and which to the printer, that is insufcient reason for refusing to make the attempt, and it can be done. But the new material added in edition 6 does not go back to the antique spellings; its usage on accidentals is, generally speaking, closely consistent with the usage that edition 6 follows in the older material. It would be quite unwarrantable for an editor to introduce the antique spellings into the new material of edition 6, especially since even edition 1 does not use them consistently, and since there is evidence from certain idiosyncrasies in the new passages that the printers of edition 6 kept reasonably close to their manuscript copy. In the added material, therefore, the accidentals of edition 6 must generally be accepted. But if, at the same time, the accidentals of edition 1 were retained for the older material, the result would be a patchwork text, which would indeed show up immediately some features of the history of the
130

editions, but which would undoubtedly be contrary to the intentions of the author. Adam Smith took great care over the preparation of edition 6, and he would not thank us if we replaced its general appearance of neat consistency by a mixture of ancient and modern forms. In a sense, of course, every revised version of a book is a patchwork in its substantives; but when the author has tried to present it as a seamless fabric, an editor has no business to disclose the seams, in the text itself, by printing the differing accidentals of the original versions of old and new matter. It follows that the copytext for TMS must be edition 6 and not edition 1. There is no virtue in making a fetish of retaining the accidentals of the rst edition. Mr. J. C. Maxwell has pointed out to us that the main purpose of Gregs article was not to insist that editors should exclude changes of accidentals and include those of substantives, but to show the need to test the credentials of each change in a substantive before accepting it as due to the author. This of course implies that one should equally not assume without consideration that changes in accidentals are due to the printer or that the accidentals of the rst edition are the nearest approach one can make to the work of the author. Sometimes one can be fairly certain that a revision of an accidental was made by the author; we have given examples in 4(a) above (pp. 38, 41). Sometimes one can be even more certain that an inconsistency in the accidentals of a rst printed version is not a reection of the manuscript but simply an indication that different parts of the book were set up by different compositors; in edition 1 of TMS, the rst few chapters use the spelling sympathize, the next few, sympathise, and the next again go back to sympathize; similarly, in the new Part VI of edition 6, Chapter 1 of Section ii regularly uses the spelling connection, while Chapters 23 regularly use connexion. Furthermore, the actual writing of the author on accidentals does not always represent his intentions for the printed text. Edition 1 of TMS very often has the contracted forms tho and thro. These are commonly used by Adam Smith in letters written in his own hand, but we cannot assume that he intended this laboursaving device to be reproduced in print. He often used the contracted from &, but nobody would suppose that he wanted that to be reproduced in the printed versions of his books. So when later editions of TMS replace tho by though, it is reasonable to think that Smith would have approved. Likewise, if the printer adds a comma where its absence impedes the reader from seeing at once the sense of a passage, one must again suppose that the author would have approved. The view that all changes in accidentals should normally be rejected assumes that the author will not have had much opportunity or determination to attend to these details in proofs. This is in fact not true of Adam Smith. While he will not have been quite so meticulous as a modern scholar might be, he evidently took particular pains over the correction of proofs. This has already been illustrated in quotations from some of his letters to his publishers, especially Letter 50 addressed to William Strahan, dated 4 April 1760. There is further evidence to the same effect in three of his letters about WN. In Letter 227 addressed to William Strahan, dated 22 May 1783, he wrote: I must correct the press myself and you must, therefor, frank me the sheets as they are printed. I would even rather than not correct it myself come up to London in the beginning of next winter and attend the Press myself. Letter 237 addressed to William Strahan, dated 10 June 1784, conrms the impression which can be formed independently, from internal evidence, that Smith gave his personal attention to punctuation: I return you the Proof which, indeed, requires
131

little correction, except in the pointing and not much in that. William Strahan died in 1785. The third letter (No. 256) is addressed to his son, Andrew Strahan, and is dated 13 February 1786: I beg you will employ one of your best compositors in printing the new edition of my book. I must, likewise beg that a compleat copy be sent to me before it is published, that I may revise and correct it. You may depend upon my not detaining you above a week. We are not suggesting that Smith himself was responsible for most of the changes in accidentals. Plainly he was not. But since he went over his proofs so carefully and was ready to revise even punctuation, we must assume that he was prepared to approve such revisions as he left unaltered. This applies particularly to edition 6, on which he worked so long. If he had wanted to go back, for example, to the antique spellings of editions 13, he had the opportunity at this time to do so. Since edition 6 in fact repeats the modernized spellings of edition 4 both in the old and in the new material, and often introduces them in places where edition 4 had omitted to do so, we are bound to suppose that this procedure had Smiths approval. If we did revert to the forms of edition 1 on accidentals, it is by no means certain that we should be reproducing what Smith himself had written. Writing in his own hand was very irksome to him, and he was in the habit of employing amanuenses for any extensive piece of work. The manuscript of WN was almost certainly written by an amanuensis, and it will be seen from Appendix II that Smith evidently used an amanuensis for his lectures in Glasgow at quite an early stage of his Professorship. This would suggest that the manuscript of TMS was probably not in the hand of Smith himself. As it happens, edition 1 of WN contains far more antique spellings than does edition 1 of TMS, and would give a quite false impression if taken to illustrate Smiths own practice. For example, edition 1 of WN usually adds k to many words that we now commonly end with c, such as public, republic, mechanic, Catholic, physic, academic, stoic, metallic, authentic, characteristic, domestic, rustic, politic. Not many of these words are to be found in letters written in Smiths own hand, but public and mechanic do occur and are spelt without a k. Quite a number of the words listed occur in TMS also, and in edition 1 of that work none of them, except public occasionally and republic once, is spelt with an added k. In so far as direct comparison can be made between edition 1 of TMS and Smiths usage in letters written in his own hand, there is a fair degree of correspondence, and certainly nothing like the extent of discrepancy that exists between the letters and edition 1 of WN. Both the letters and edition 1 of TMS commonly use the forms inconveniency, cloaths, antient, compleat, chearful, and chuse. (The last, which is not universal in the earlier editions, is generally retained in the old material of edition 6 and is quite commonly used in the new material too.) The letters tend to use the contracted forms tho and thro, which occur usually, but by no means universally, in edition 1 of the book. On the other side, the letters have Nature with a capital initial and public without a k, while edition 1 of TMS prints nature almost always and publick from time to time. Both the letters and the book are inconsistent in using the two forms entire and intire, but e is more common in the letters, while i is far more common in edition 1 of the book. In his letters and in inscribing presentation copies of his books, Smith showed a marked preference for the spelling author, while the book always uses the form author. The correspondences between the letters and the book are not at all strong evidence that Smith him132

self wrote the manuscript for edition 1, since these correspondences are equally consistent with the hypothesis that the manuscript of TMS was written by an amanuensis, though not the one who wrote the manuscript of WN. On the other hand, the discrepancies in this instance do not add up to any strong evidence that Smith did not write the manuscript. It remains an open question. Comparison with the letters is inconclusive. The fact that Smith used an amanuensis for his lectures suggests that he is likely to have done so for the book. J. R. McCulloch is reported by Rae (Life, 2601) to have said that Smith wrote TMS in his own hand, but it seems that McCulloch was going simply on his own impression that the style of the book was less diffuse than that of WN. (This point is further discussed in Appendix II.) We have, then, taken edition 6 as our copytext. We have departed from it in a small number of instances. First, we have corrected misprints. Second, we have incorporated those corrections of the Errata lists for editions 1 and 2 which were overlooked. Third, we have included those revisions in edition 5 which can reasonably be attributed to the author and which were forgotten in the preparation of edition 6. Fourth, there are some instances where the reading of an earlier edition is to be preferred on the ground that the later reading is an error that was overlooked. Fifth, there are a few places where we have ourselves introduced an emendation which we believe represents the authors own intention. With one exception, these emendations are a necessary consequence of nearby revisions that the author himself has made. The exception concerns the words convenience(s) and inconvenience(s). In editions 15, the forms conveniency, etc., are always used, except for a lapse on a single occasion in edition 4. Edition 6 retains these forms in the old material, apart from one paragraph of Part VII. In its new material it uses the alternative forms convenience, etc., in Part VI (several instances), but conveniency, etc., in new passages of III.3 and of VII.ii.1. Now in the case of this particular set of words, we can say with condence that Smith had an insistent preference for conveniency and its cognates. Apart from the fact that he always uses these forms in letters written in his own hand, there is an interesting piece of evidence in the manuscript that W. R. Scott called An early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations. This manuscript was written by an amanuensis, but some of the revisions, written over original material, are in Adam Smiths own hand. Scott (ASSP, 325) notes an instance of the word conveniencies where the last three letters are in Smiths hand, and Scott conjectures that the amanuensis may originally have written conveniences There is another instance of the word conveniencies (331) where the second i is due to revision, probably for the same reason. Consequently we have judged that Adam Smith would have wanted the word (and its cognates) to be spelt in this way throughout his book, and that it was probably so spelt in the manuscript of the new material for edition 6. The instances of the alternative spelling in the text of edition 6 were probably due to a particular compositor. One could argue that our editorial emendation of convenience to conveniency might have been extended to certain other forms of words for which Smith is known to have had a preference, such as authour, compleat, cloaths, and chearful. But these words do not stand on all fours with conveniency and its cognates, which are the forms regularly used in editions 15 and carried over to edition 6 in all instances but one of the old material, as well as being used sometimes in the new material. By contrast, authour is never used in any of the editions; compleat is
133

generally, though not consistently, used in editions 13, but is replaced by complete for the major part of edition 4 and throughout edition 6; cloaths and its cognates, and likewise chearful, are regularly used in editions 15 but not at all in edition 6. At any rate we have decided to be fairly conservative in our departures from the text of edition 6. We have given the reader some indication of the changes in accidentals, as between the different editions, that are most important for this purpose, and the apparatus of variants will enable him to go farther if he wishes. The critical apparatus is divided into two sections, one appearing as footnotes to the text, the other forming Appendix I. The character of the two sections needs some explanation. The variants in the textual footnotes are referred to by alphabetical indicators in the text itself. They consist of two quite distinct groups. (1) Since edition 6 is our copytext, the reader ought to be told immediately whenever our text departs from that of edition 6. Every such departure is indicated in the text by being enclosed within superscribed letters of the alphabet; the reading of edition 6, and the variants, if any, in other editions, are given in the footnote, together with reasons for the emendation if these are not at once obvious. (2) We have also printed as footnotes, with alphabetical indicators in the text, all variants that disclose a change or addition of thought by the author, as contrasted with revisions of substantives that constitute merely an improvement in the expression of the same thought. (Occasionally there may be difference of opinion whether a revision of words does or does not have a slight effect on the sense conveyed, and in such instances we have thought it best to allow for a possible change of thought and to include the variant in the footnotes to the text pages.) This class of variants is the really important one for most readers. TMS is a book on a philosophical subject, and a proper understanding of it requires an awareness of the respects in which the authors thought developed. We have therefore thought it right to bring these changes directly to the readers attention by the same method of immediate presentation as has been used for emendations. Other variants that are at all worthy of record have been included in Appendix I. They include both substantives and accidentals. The variants in substantives that appear in Appendix I are those which the author has revised simply in order to improve the expression of his thought, without changing the thought itself. Appendix I also contains the vast majority of variants in accidentals, but not all, since a few changes of accidentals are involved in one or other of the two classes of variants that are printed on the text pages. One small group of trivial variants has not been recorded, on the ground that they are practically of no signicance, except to students of the history of printing, who would in any event want to make their own record of such matters. These are the introduction of a misprint, or the addition or omission of a mark of punctuation, in one intermediate edition only, when the next edition restores the original reading. We have, however, excluded edition 5 from our rule of ignoring such trivia. Because of the unusual relationship of edition 5 to its predecessor and successor, there is some interest in noting all the variants that it affords.

134

Editions 17 all conclude the headings and titles of Parts, Sections, and chapters with full points. There is no reason why a modern edition should reproduce this particular piece of early printing practice, and we have not done so either in the text or in the relevant variants. In the textual apparatus, the numerals in italic type following an entry stand for the editions containing it, 1E and 2E being used for the Errata lists of editions 1 and 2. The numerals in roman type preceding an entry in Appendix I stand for the page and line in which the passage is located. A caret below the line () stands for the omission of a mark of punctuation. A wavy dash () stands for a repetition of all the words up to a mark of punctuation or a caret. The numerals printed in the margin at the beginning of each paragraph are not in the original editions. The practice of numbering the paragraphs within each chapter, or similar segment, will be followed also for WN and EPS in this edition of the Works of Adam Smith, in order that crossreferences may be made from one work to another by means of paragraphs instead of pages, and so without conning the reader to the present edition.

Endnotes
[1] Corr., Letter 9 addressed to William Cullen, dated 3 September 1751. [2] Dugald Stewart, Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D. (1793; reprinted in EPS), I.12; A. F. Tytler, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Henry Home of Kames (Edinburgh, 1807), i.190. [3] W. R. Scott, Adam Smith as Student and Professor (Glasgow, 1937), 50, 545, cites evidence for lectures on civil law. [4] Stewart, I.16. Stewart identies his informant as Millar in a note added to the reprint of the Account included in Works of Adam Smith (London, 1811), v.412. [5] Stewart, I.1820. [6] Taken from transcription in Glasgow Univ. Library, Murray MS. 506, pp. 169 ff. [7] The Development of Adam Smiths Ideas on the Division of Labour, Economic Journal, lxxxiii (1973), 10941116. [8] Stewart, I.21. [9] Cf. also WN III.iii.12; IV.v.b.43; IV.ix.28. [10]Inquiry concerning Moral Good and Evil, III.viii; D. D. Raphael, British Moralists 1650 1800, 333.

135

[11] It may have been suggested to Smith by Addisons dedication of vol. i of The Spectator, which begins: I should not act the part of an impartial spectator, if I directed the following papers to one who is not of the most consummate and most acknowledged merit. [12] Corr., Letter 40, dated 10 October 1759. [13] Ronald L. Meek and Andrew S. Skinner, The Development of Adam Smiths Ideas on the Division of Labour, Economic Journal, lxxxiii (1973), 1103. [14] Andrew Millar, the publisher. [15] James Oswald, a friend of Smiths from boyhood. [16] Benjamin C. Nangle, The Monthly Review, First Series, 1749 1789, Indexes of Contributors and Articles (Oxford, 1934), 199. [17] Cf. John Rac, Life of Adam Smith (London, 1895), 512. Rae is, however, mistaken when he says (58) that admiration for TMS induced the future Earl of Shelburne (Lord Fitzmaurice) to send his brother Thomas to study under Smith. Lord Fitzmaurice advised his father to do this in 1758 on the suggestion of Sir Gilbert Elliot, and Thomas Fitzmaurice was in residence at Glasgow early in 1759 before TMS appeared (see Letter 27 to Smith from Elliot, dated 14 November 1758, and Letter 28 from Smith to Lord Fitzmaurice, dated 21 February 1759). [18] Scott, ASSP, 68, 293 n.3. [19] Rae, Life, 59. [20] Scott, ASSP, 221. [21] Quoted by the Abb Blavet in the preface (viiviii) of his translation of TMS. [22] Eckstein, intro. xxi n. 1; cf. Rae, Life, 196. [23] Rae, Life, 197. [24] J. H. Burton (ed.), Letters of Eminent Persons addressed to David Hume (Edinburgh and London, 1849), 2378; cf. Rae, Life, 198. [25] Countess of Minto, A Memoir of Hugh Elliot (Edinburgh, 1868), 13; cf. Rae, Life, 199. The report of Humes marriage was an unfounded rumour. [26] Corr., Letter 194 from the Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Smith, dated 3 March 1778. [27] A. H. Brown, Adam Smiths First Russian Followers, in the volume of Essays on Adam Smith (edited by Andrew S. Skinner and Thomas Wilson) accompanying the present edition of Smiths Works.

136

GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO VOL. 2: THE WEALTH OF NATIONS [R.H. CAMPBELL AND A.S SKINNER]

Scope and Method


Although it would be extravagant to claim that Adam Smith was the last of the great polymaths, it is nonetheless true that he wrote on a remarkable range of subjects including as it does economics and history; law and government; language and the arts, not to mention essays on astronomy, ancient logics and metaphysics. Indeed, the latter group of essays, apparently written in the 1750s, although not published until 1795, moved J. A. Schumpeter to remark that Nobody, I venture to say, can have an adequate idea of Smiths intellectual stature who does not know these essays and to describe that on astronomy as the pearl of the collection1 .

137

The Astronomy is especially valuable as an exercise in philosophical history; a form of enquiry in which Smith was particularly interested, and which, in this case, led him to examine the rst formation and subsequent development of those astronomical theories which had culminated in the work of Newton. But at the same time, the essay was designed to illustrate the principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries. The essay was thus concerned with the question of motivation, and as such may tell us a good deal about Smiths own drives as a thinker, contributing in this way to our understanding of the form which his other works in fact assumed. Smiths main purpose in the Astronomy was to consider the stimulus given to the exercise of the understanding by the sentiments of surprise, wonder, and admiration; sentiments which he did not necessarily consider to be the sole sources of stimuli to philosophical work, but which represented forces whose inuence was, he believed, of far wider extent than we should be apt upon a careless view to imagine (Intro., 7). In elaborating on this statement Smith made a number of simple assumptions: that man is endowed with certain faculties and propensities such as reason, reection, and imagination, and that he is motivated by a desire to acquire the means of pleasure and to avoid pain, where in this context pleasure relates to a state of the imagination involving tranquility and composure; a state attained from the contemplation of relation, similarity, or customary connection. He went on to argue that we feel surprise when some object or relation does not fall into an expected pattern; a sentiment which is quickly followed by wonder, which is in turn associated with the perception of something like a gap or interval (i.e. a lack of known connection or failure to conform to an established classication) between the object or objects of examination. For Smith, the essence of wonder was that it gave rise to a feeling of pain (i.e. disutility) to which the normal response is an act of attempted explanation, designed to restore the mind to a state of equilibrium; a goal which can only be attained where an explanation for the phenomena in question is found, and where that explanation is coherent, capable of accounting for observed appearances, and stated in terms of plausible (or familiar) principles. Smith considered these feelings and responses to be typical of all men, while suggesting that the philosopher or scientist was particularly subject to them, partly as a result of superior powers of observation and partly because of that degree of curiosity which normally leads him to examine problems (such as the conversion of esh into bone) which are to the ordinary man so familiar as not to require any explanation at all (II.11). Nature as a whole, Smith argued, seems to abound with events which appear solitary and incoherent (II.12) so that the purpose of philosophy emerges as being to nd the connecting principles of nature (II.12) with, as its ultimate end, the repose and tranquility of the imagination (IV.13). It is here especially that the sentiment of admiration becomes relevant in the sense that once an explanation has been offered for some particular problem, the very existence of that explanation may heighten our appreciation of the appearances themselves. Thus, for example, we may learn to understand and thus to admire a complex economic structure once its hidden springs have been exposed, just as the theory of astronomy leads us to admire the heavens by presenting the theatre of nature as a coherent and therefore as a more magnicent spectacle (II.12). Scientic explanation is thus designed to restore the mind to a state of balance and at the

138

same time productive of a source of pleasure in this rather indirect way. Smith also added, however, that men pursue the study of philosophy for its own sake, as an original pleasure or good in itself, without regarding its tendency to procure them the means of many other pleasures (III.3). There are perhaps three features of this argument which are worth emphasizing at this point. First, Smiths suggestion that the purpose of philosophy is to explain the coherence of nature, allied to his recognition of the interdependence of phenomena, leads directly to the idea of a system which is designed to explain a complex of phenomena or appearances. It is interesting to recall in this connection that the history of astronomy unfolded in terms of four systems of this kind, and that Smith should have likened such productions of the intellect to machines whose function was to connect together in the fancy those different movements and effects which are already in reality performed (IV.19). Secondly, it is noteworthy that Smith should have associated intellectual effort, and the forms which the corresponding output may assume, with certain sources of pleasure. He himself often spoke of the beauty of systematical arrangement (WN V.i.f.25) and his delight in such arrangement was one of the qualities of his mind to which Dugald Stewart frequently drew attention. In the Imitative Arts (II.30) Smith likened the pleasure to be derived from the contemplation of a great system of thought to that felt when listening to a well composed concerto of instrumental Music ascribing to both an almost sensual quality. Points such as these are relevant at least in the sense that a general preference for order or system may lead the thinker to work in certain ways and even to choose a particular method of organizing his arguments. Smith in fact considered the various ways of organizing scientic (or didactic) discourse in the LRBL where it is stated that the technique whereby we lay down certain principles, [primary?] or proved, in the beginning, from whence we account for the severall Phaenomena, connecting all together by the same chain is vastly more ingenious and for that reason more engaging than any other. He added: It gives us a pleasure to see the phenomena which we reckoned the most unaccountable, all deduced from some principle (commonly, a wellknown one) and all united in one chain. (LRBL ii.1334, ed. Lothian, 140.) Elsewhere he referred to a propensity, common to all men, to account for all appearances from as few principles as possible (TMS VII.ii.2.14). However, while there is little doubt that Smiths major works (including of course the Astronomy itself) are dominated by such a choice, it would be as wrong to imply that such works are to be regarded as deductive exercises in practical aesthetics as it would be to ignore the latter element altogether. The fact is that the dangers as well as the delights of purely deductive reasoning were widely recognized at this time, and the choice of Newton rather than Descartes (who was also a proponent of the method described above) as the model to be followed is indicative of the point. The distinctive feature of Newtons work was not, after all, to be found in the use of certain principles in the explanation of complex phenomena, but rather in the fact that he (following the lead of others) sought to establish those principles in a certain way. Those interested in the scientic study of man at this time sought to apply the Newtonian vision of a law governed universe to a new sphere, and to employ the experimental method as an aid to the discovery of those laws of nature which governed the behaviour of the machine and disclosed the intention of its Design.
139

Smiths contribution to what would now be dened as the social sciences is contained in his work on ethics, jurisprudence, and economics, which correspond in turn to the order in which he lectured on these subjects while Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow. All are characterized by certain common features which are readily apparent on examination: in each case Smith sought to explain complex problems in terms of a small number of basic principles, and each conforms to the requirements of the Newtonian method in the broad sense of that term. All three make use of the typical hypothesis that the principles of human nature can be taken as constant, and all employ the doctrine of unintended social outcomesthe thesis that man, in following the prompting of his nature, unconsciously gives substantial expression to some parts of the [Divine?] Plan. Again, each area of Smiths thought is marked by a keen sense of the fact that manners and institutions may change through time and that they may show striking variations in different communities at the same point in timea feature which was rapidly becoming quite common in an age dominated by Montesquieu. It is perhaps even more remarkable that not only were Smiths ethics, jurisprudence, and economics, marked by a degree of systematic thought of such a kind as to reveal a great capacity for modelbuilding, but also by an attempt to delineate the boundaries of a single system of thought, of which these separate subjects were the component parts. For example, the TMS may be seen to offer an explanation as to the way in which so selfregarding a creature as man succeeds (by natural as distinct from articial means) in erecting barriers against his own passions; an argument which culminates in the proposition that some system of magistracy is generally an essential condition of social stability. On the other hand, the historical treatment of jurisprudence complements this argument by showing the way in which government originates, together with the sources of social and political change, the whole running in terms of a four stage theory of economic development.2 The economic analysis as such may be seen to be connected with the other areas of Smiths thought in the sense that it begins from a specic stage of historical development and at the same time makes use of the psychological assumptions established by the TMS. Before proceeding to the economics it may therefore be useful to review the main elements of the other branches of Smiths work, and to elucidate some of their interconnections. This may be an appropriate choice not only because Smith himself taught the elements of economics against a philosophical and historical background, but also because so much of that background was formally incorporated in the WN itselfa book, after all, which is concerned with much more than economics as that term is now commonly understood.

Social Theory
Smiths Theory of Moral Sentiments is, of course, an important contribution to moral philosophy in its own right, and one which attempted to answer the two main questions which Smith considered to be the proper province of this kind of philosopher:

140

First, wherein does virtue consist? Or what is the tone of temper, and tenour of conduct, which constitutes the excellent and praiseworthy character, the character which is the natural object of esteem, honour, and approbation? And, secondly, by what power or faculty in the mind is it, that this character, whatever it be, is recommended to us? Or in other words, how and by what means does it come to pass, that the mind prefers one tenour of conduct to another? (VII.i.2) On Smiths argument, the process by which we distinguish between objects of approval or disapproval depends largely on our capacity for otherregarding activities and involves a complex of abilities and propensities which include sympathy, imagination, reason and reection. To begin with, he stated a basic principle in arguing that man is possessed of a certain fellow feeling which permits him to feel joy or sorrow according as the circumstances facing others contribute to their feelings of pleasure or pain. An expression of sympathy (broadly dened) for another person thus involves an act of reection and imagination on the part of the observer in the sense that we can only form an opinion with regard to the mental state of another person by changing places in the fancy with him. Smith was also careful to argue in this connection that our judgement with regard to others was always likely to be imperfect, at least in the sense that we can have no immediate experience of what other men feel (I.i.1.2). Given these basic principles, Smith then proceeded to apply them in considering the two different aspects or relations under which we may judge an action taken by ourselves or others, rst, in relation to the cause or object which excites it; and, secondly, in relation to the end which it proposes, or to the effect which it tends to produce (II.i.2). We may take these in turn: In dealing with the rst question we go beyond the consideration of the circumstances in which the subject of our judgement may nd himself, and his state of mind (i.e. whether he is happy or sad) to consider the extent to which his actions or affections (i.e. expressions of feeling) are appropriate to the conditions under which they take place or the objects which they seek to attain. In short, the purpose of judgement is to form an opinion as to the propriety or impropriety of an action, or expression of feeling, where these qualities are found to consist in the suitableness or unsuitableness, in the proportion or disproportion which the affection seems to bear to the cause or object which excites it (I.i.3.6). Given the principles so far established it will be evident that when the spectator of another mans conduct tries to form an opinion as to its propriety, he can only do so by bringing home to himself both the circumstances and feelings of the subject. Smith went on to argue that exactly the same principles apply when we seek to form a judgement as to our own actions, the only difference being that we must do so indirectly rather than directly; by visualizing the manner in which the real or supposed spectator might react to them. Or, as Smith put it: We can never survey our own sentiments and motives, we can never form any judgement concerning them; unless we remove ourselves, as it were, from our own natural station, and endeavour to view them as at a certain distance from us. But we

141

can do this in no other way than by endeavouring to view them with the eyes of other people, or as other people are likely to view them. (III.1.2) Given these points, we can now examine the second relation, that is, the propriety of action in relation to the end which it proposes, or the effect which it tends to produce. Here, as far as the agent is concerned, Smith argued that the spectator can form a judgement as to whether or not an action is proper or improper in terms, for example, of motive as well as by reference to the propriety of the choice of means to attain a given end. In the same way, the spectator can form a judgement with regard to the propriety of the reaction of the subject (or person affected) to the circumstances created by the action of the agent. Now while it is evident that the spectator can form these judgements when examining the actions of the two parties taken separately, it is an essential part of Smiths argument that a view with regard to the merit or demerit of a given action can be formed only by taking account of the activities of the two parties simultaneously. He was careful to argue in this connection, for example, that we might sympathize with the motives of the agent while recognizing that the action taken had had unintended consequences which might have either harmed or beneted some third party. Similarly, the spectator might sympathize with the reaction of the subject to a particular situation, while nding that sympathy qualied by recognition of the fact that the person acting had not intended another person either to gain or lose. It is only given a knowledge of the motives of the agent and the consequences of an action that we can form a judgement as to its merit or demerit, where that judgement is based on some perception of the propriety or impropriety of the activities of the two parties. Given these conditions Smith concluded that as our perception of the propriety of conduct arises from what I shall call a direct sympathy with the affections and motives of the person who acts, so our sense of its merit arises from what I shall call an indirect sympathy with the gratitude of the person who is, if I may say so, acted upon (II.i.5.1). Smith went on from this point to argue that where approval of motive is added to a perception of the benecent tendency of the action taken, then such actions deserve reward; while those of the opposite kind seem then to deserve, and, if I may say so, to call aloud for, a proportionable punishment; and we entirely enter into, and thereby approve of, that resentment which prompts to inict it (II.i.4.4). As we shall see, this principle was to assume considerable importance in terms of Smiths discussion of justice. Before going further there are perhaps three points which should be emphasized and which arise from Smiths discussion of the two different relations in terms of which we can examine the actions of ourselves or other men. First, Smiths argument is designed to suggest that judgement of our actions is always framed by the real or supposed spectator of our conduct. It is evident therefore that the accuracy of the judgement thus formed will be a function of the information available to the spectator with regard to action or motive, and the impartiality with which that information is interpreted. Secondly, it follows from the above that wherever an action taken or a feeling expressed by one man is approved of by another, then an element of restraint (and therefore control of our affections) must be present. For example, it is evident that since we have no immediate experi142

ence of what other men feel, then we as spectators can enter into their situation only to a limited degree. The person judged can therefore attain the agreement of the spectator only: by lowering his passion to that pitch, in which the spectators are capable of going along with him. He must atten, if I may be allowed to say so, the sharpness of its natural tone, in order to reduce it to harmony and concord with the emotions of those who are about him. (I.i.4.7) Finally, it will be obvious that the individual judged will only make the effort to attain a certain mediocrity of expression where he regards the opinion of the spectator as important. In fact Smith made this assumption explicit in remarking: Nature when she formed man for society, endowed him with an original desire to please, and an original aversion to offend his brethren. She taught him to feel pleasure in their favourable, and pain in their unfavourable regard. She rendered their approbation most attering . . . for its own sake; and their disapprobation most mortifying and most offensive. (III.2.6) Given the desire to acquire the sources of pleasure and to avoid pain, this aspect of the psychology of man would appear to ensure that he will generally act in ways which will secure the approbation of his brethren, and that he is to this extent tted for the society of other men. At the same time, however, Smith makes it clear that this general disposition may of itself be insufcient to ensure an adequate source of control over our actions and passions, and this for reasons which are at least in part connected with the spectator concept and the problem of selfinterest. We have already noted that the spectator can never be entirely informed with regard to the feelings of another person, and it will be evident therefore that it will always be particularly difcult to attain a knowledge of the motive which may prompt a given action. Smith noted this point in remarking that in fact the world judges by the event, and not by the design, classifying this tendency as one of a number of irregularities in our moral sentiments. The difculty is, of course, that such a situation must constitute something of a discouragement to virtue; a problem which was solved in Smiths model by employing an additional (and explicit) assumption with regard to the psychology of man. As Smith put it, a desire for approval and an aversion to the disapproval of his fellows would not alone have rendered man t: for that society for which he was made. Nature, accordingly, has endowed him not only with a desire of being approved of, but with a desire of being what ought to be approved of; or of being what he approves of in other men. The rst desire could only have made him wish to appear to be t for society. The second was necessary in order to render him anxious to be really t. (III.2.7) Hence the importance in Smiths argument of the ideal or supposed spectator, of the man within the breast, the abstract, ideal, spectator of our sentiments and conduct who is always well informed with respect to our own motives, and whose judgement would be that of the actual spectator where the latter was possessed of all the necessary information. It is this tribunal, the voice of principle and conscience, which, in Smiths argument, helps to ensure that we will in fact

143

tread the path of virtue and which supports us in this path even when our due rewards are denied us or our sins unknown. However, having made this point, Smith drew attention to another difculty, namely that even where we have access to the information necessary to judge our own conduct, and even where we are generally disposed to judge ourselves as others might see us, if they knew all, yet there are at least two occasions on which we may be unlikely to regard our own actions with the required degree of impartiality: rst, when we are about to act; and, secondly, after we have acted. Our views are apt to be very partial in both cases; but they are apt to be most partial when it is of most importance that they should be otherwise (III.4.2). In this connection he went on to note that when we are about to act, the eagerness of passion will very seldom allow us to consider what we are doing with the candour of an indifferent person, while in addition a judgement formed in a cool hour may still be lacking in sufcient candour, because It is so disagreeable to think ill of ourselves, that we often purposely turn away our view from those circumstances which might render that judgement unfavourable (III.4.4). The solution to this particular logical problem is found in the idea of general rules of morality or accepted conduct; rules which we are disposed to obey by virtue of the claims of conscience, and of which we attain some knowledge by virtue of our ability to form judgements in particular cases. As Smith argued: It is thus that the general rules of morality are formed. They are ultimately founded upon experience of what, in particular instances, our moral faculties, our natural sense of merit and propriety, approve, or disapprove of. We do not originally approve or condemn particular actions; because, upon examination, they appear to be agreeable or inconsistent with a certain general rule. The general rule, on the contrary, is formed, by nding from experience, that all actions of a certain kind, or circumstanced in a certain manner, are approved or disapproved of. (III.4.8) It will be noted that such rules are based on our experience of what is t and proper to be done or to be avoided, and that they become standards or yardsticks against which we can judge our conduct even in the heat of the moment, and which are therefore of great use in correcting the misrepresentations of selflove (III.4.12). Yet even here Smith does not claim that a knowledge of general rules will of itself be sufcient to ensure good conduct, and this for reasons which are not unconnected with (although not wholly explained by) yet a further facet of mans nature. For Smith, man was an active being, disposed to pursue certain objectives which may be motivated by a desire to be thought well of by his fellows but which at the same time may lead him to take actions which have hurtful consequences as far as others are concerned. It is indeed one of Smiths more striking achievements to have recognized the social objective of many economic goals in remarking: it is chiey from this regard to the sentiments of mankind, that we pursue riches and avoid poverty. For to what purpose is all the toil and bustle of this world? what is

144

the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth, of power and preeminence? . . . what are the advantages we propose by that great purpose of human life which we call bettering our condition? To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which we can propose to derive from it. (I.iii.2.1) However, Smith was well aware that the pursuit of status, the desire to be well thought of in a public sense, could be associated with selfdelusion, and with actions which could inict damage on others either by accident or design. In this connection, he remarked that the individual: In the race for wealth, and honours, and preferments . . . may run as hard as he can, and strain every nerve and every muscle, in order to outstrip all his competitors. But if he should justle, or throw down any of them, the indulgence of the spectators is entirely at an end. It is a violation of fair play, which they cannot admit of. (II.ii.2.1) Knowledge of the resentment of the spectators thus emerges as something of a deterrent as far as the agent is concerned, although Smith placed more emphasis on the fact that a feeling of resentment generated by some act of injustice produces a natural approval of punishment, just as the perception of the good consequences of some action leads, as we have seen, to a desire to see it rewarded. In this world at least, it is our disposition to punish and approval of punishment which restrains acts of injustice, and which thus helps to restrain the actions of individuals within due bounds. Justice in this sense of the term is of critical importance, and Smith went on to notice that while nature exhorts mankind to acts of benecence, by the pleasing consciousness of deserved reward, benecence is still the ornament which embellishes, not the foundation which supports the building. He continued: Justice, on the contrary, is the main pillar that upholds the whole edice. If it is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society . . . must in a moment crumble into atoms. (II.ii.3.4) In Smiths eyes, a fundamental precondition of social order was a system of positive law, embodying our conception of those rules of conduct which relate to justice. He added that these rules must be administered by some system of government or magistracy, on the ground that: As the violation of justice is what men will never submit to from one another, the public magistrate is under a necessity of employing the power of the commonwealth to enforce the practice of this virtue. Without this precaution, civil society would become a scene of bloodshed and disorder, every man revenging himself at his own hand whenever he fancied he was injured. (VII.iv.36) It now remains to be seen just how government originates, to explain the sources of its authority, and the basis of obedience to that authority.

145

The Stages of Society


It was in the lectures on justice rather than the TMS that Smith set out to consider the grounds on which we were disposed to obey our magistrates, nding the basis of obedience in the principles of utility and authority. In practice, Smith placed most emphasis on the latter and identied four main sources: personal qualications, age, fortune, and birth. Taking these four sources in turn, he argued that personal qualities such as wisdom, strength, or beauty, while important as sources of individual distinction, were yet of rather limited political value, since they are all qualities which are open to dispute. As a result, he suggests that age, provided there is no suspicion of dotage, represents a more important source of authority and of respect, since it is a plain and palpable quality about which there can be no doubt. Smith also observed that as a matter of fact age regulates rank among those who are in every other respect equal in both primitive and civilized societies, although its relative importance in the two cases is likely to vary. The third source of authority, wealth, of all the sources of power is perhaps the most emphasized by Smith, and here again he cites two elements. First, he noted that through an irregularity of our moral sentiments, men tend to admire and respect the rich (rather than the poor, who may be morally more worthy) as the possessors of all the imagined conveniences of wealth. Secondly, he argued that the possession of riches may also be associated with a degree of power which arises from the dependence of the poor for their subsistence. Thus, for example, the great chief who has no other way of spending his surpluses other than in the maintenance of men, acquires retainers and dependents who: depending entirely upon him for their subsistence, must both obey his orders in war, and submit to his jurisdiction in peace. He is necessarily both their general and their judge, and his chieftainship is the necessary effect of the superiority of his fortune. (WN V.i.b.7) Finally, Smith argues that the observed fact of our tendency to venerate antiquity of family, rather than the upstart or newly rich, also constitutes an important source of authority which may reinforce that of riches. He concluded that: Birth and fortune are evidently the two circumstances which principally set one man above another. They are the two great sources of personal distinction, and are therefore the principal causes which naturally establish authority and subordination among men. (V.i.b.11) Having made these points, Smith then went on to argue that just as wealth (and the subsequent distinction of birth) represents an important source of authority, so in turn it opens up an important source of dispute. In this connection we nd him arguing that where people are prompted by malice or resentment to hurt one another, and where they can be harmed only in respect of person or reputation, then men may live together with some degree of harmony; the point being that the greater part of men are not very frequently under the inuence of those passions; and the very worst men are so only occasionally. He went on to note:

146

As their gratication too, how agreeable soever it may be to certain characters, is not attended with any real or permanent advantage, it is in the greater part of men commonly restrained by prudential considerations. Men may live together in society with some tolerable degree of security, though there is no civil magistrate to protect them from the injustice of those passions. (V.i.b.2) But in a situation where property can be acquired, Smith argued there could be an advantage to be gained by committing acts of injustice, in that here we nd a situation which tends to give full rein to avarice and ambition. The acquisition of valuable and extensive property, therefore, necessarily requires the establishment of civil government. Where there is no property, or at least none that exceeds the value of two or three days labour, civil government is not so necessary. (ibid.) Elsewhere he remarked that Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all (V.i.b.12). It is a government, on Smiths argument, which in some situations at least is supported by a perception of its utility, at least on the side of the rich, but which must gradually have evolved naturally and independently of any consideration of that necessity. In Smiths own words: Civil government supposes a certain subordination. But as the necessity of civil government gradually grows up with the acquisition of valuable property, so the principal causes which naturally introduce subordination gradually grow up with the growth of that valuable property. (V.i.b.3) In this way Smith stated the basic principles behind the origin of government and illustrated the four main sources of authority. In the subsequent part of the argument he then tried to show the way in which the outlines of society and government would vary, by reference to four broad socioeconomic types: the stages of hunting, pasture, agriculture, and commerce.3 One of the more striking features of Smiths argument is in fact the link which he succeeded in establishing between the form of economy prevailing (i.e. the mode of earning subsistence) and the source and distribution of power or dependence among the classes of men which make up a single society. The rst stage of society was represented as the lowest and rudest state, such as we nd it among the native tribes of North America (WN V.i.a.2). In this case, life is maintained through gathering the spontaneous fruits of the soil, and the dominant activities are taken to be hunting and shinga mode of acquiring subsistence which is antecedent to any social organization in production. As a result, Smith suggested that such communities would be small in size and characterized by a high degree of personal libertydue of course to the absence of any form of economic dependence. Smith also observed that in the absence of private property which was also capable of accumulation, disputes between different members of the community would be minor so there is seldom any established magistrate or any regular administration of justice (V.i.b.2) in such states. He added:
147

Universal poverty establishes there universal equality, and the superiority, either of age, or of personal qualities, are the feeble, but the sole foundations of authority and subordination. There is therefore little or no authority or subordination in this period of society. (V.i.b.7) The second social stage is that of pasture, which Smith represented as a more advanced state of society, such as we nd it among the Tartars and Arabs (V.i.a.3). Here the use of cattle is the dominant economic activity and this mode of subsistence meant, as Smith duly noted, that life would tend to be nomadic and the communities larger in size than had been possible in the preceding stage. More dramatically, Smith observed that the appropriation of herds and ocks which introduced an inequality of fortune, was that which rst gave rise to regular government. We also nd here a form of property which can be accumulated and transmitted from one generation to another, thus explaining a change in the main sources of authority as compared to the previous period. As Smith put it: The second period of society, that of shepherds, admits of very great inequalities of fortune, and there is no period in which the superiority of fortune gives so great authority to those who possess it. There is no period accordingly in which authority and subordination are more perfectly established. The authority of an Arabian scherif is very great; that of a Tartar khan altogether despotical. (V.i.b.7) At the same time it is evident that the mode of subsistence involved will ensure a high degree of dependence on the part of those who must acquire the means of subsistence through the exchange of personal service, and those who, owning the means of subsistence, have no other means of expending it save on the maintenance of dependents, who also contribute to their military power. Smith added that while the distinction of birth, being subsequent to the inequality of fortune, can have no place in a nation of hunters, this distinction always does take place among nations of shepherds (V.i.b.10). Since the great families lack, in this context, the means of dissipating wealth, it follows that there are no nations among whom wealth is likely to continue longer in the same families (ibid.). The third economic stage is perhaps the most complicated of Smiths fourfold classication at least in the sense that it seems to have a lower, middle and upper phase. Thus for example the initial stage may be seen to correspond to that situation which followed the overthrow of Rome by the barbarians; pastoral nations which had, however, acquired some idea of agriculture and of property in land. Smith argued that such peoples would naturally adapt existing institutions to their new situation and that their rst act would be to divide the available territories, introducing by this means a settled abode and some form of rudimentary tillage; i.e. the beginnings of a new form of productive activity. Under the circumstances outlined, each estate or parcel of land would assume the character of a separate principality, while presenting many of the features of the second stage. As in the previous case, for example, the basis of power is property, and, as before, those who lack the means of subsistence can acquire it only through the exchange of personal service, thus becoming members of a group who having no equivalent to give in return for their maintenance must obey their lord for the same reason that soldiers must obey the prince who pays them (III.iv.5). Each separate estate could thus be regarded as stable in a political sense
148

in that it was based on clear relations of power and dependence, although Smith did emphasize that there would be an element of instability in terms of the relations between the principalities; a degree of instability which remained even after the advent of the feudal period with its complex of rights and obligations. In Smiths words the authority possessed by the government of a whole country still continued to be, as before, too weak in the head and too strong in the inferior members (III.iv.9), a problem basically created by the fact that: In those disorderly times, every great landlord was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were his subjects. He was their judge, and in some respects their legislator in peace, and their leader in war. He made war according to his own discretion, frequently against his neighbours, and sometimes against his sovereign. (III.ii.3) It was a situation which effectively prevented economic development, and one where the open country remained a scene of violence, rapine, and disorder (III.iv.9). The middle stage of this period may be represented as preserving the institutions of the previous stage (save with the substitution of the feudal for the allodial system of landtenure), albeit with the signicant addition of selfgoverning cities paying a rent certain to the king. In this way, Smith suggested, the kings were able to acquire a source of power capable of offsetting that of the great lords, by way of a tactical alliance with the cities. Smith made exactly this point when remarking that mutual interest would lead the burghers to support the king, and the king to support them against the lords. They were the enemies of his enemies, and it was his interest to render them as secure and independent of those enemies as he could (III.iii.8). Two signicant developments were then traced from this situation, itself a response to the political instability of the agrarian period. First, the cities, as selfgoverning communities (a kind of independent republics Smith calls them) would create the essential conditions for economic development (personal security), while, secondly, their development would also generate an important shift in the balance of political power. The upper stage of the period differs from the previous phase most obviously in that Smith here examines a situation where the trade and manufactures of the cities had had a signicant impact on the power of the nobles, by providing them for the rst time with a means of expending their surpluses. It was this trend, Smith suggested, which led the great proprietors to improve the form of leases (with a view to maximizing their exchangeable surpluses) and to the dismissal of the excess part of their tenants and retainersall with consequent effects on the economic and thus the political power of this class. As Smith put it: For a pair of diamond buckles perhaps, or for something as frivolous and useless, they exchanged the maintenance, or what is the same thing, the price of the maintenance of a thousand men for a year, and with it the whole weight and authority which it could give them. (III.iv.10) The fourth and apparently nal economic stage (commerce) may be simply described as one wherein all goods and services command a price, thus effectively eliminating the direct dependence of the feudal period and to this extent diminishing the power to be derived from the ownership of property. Thus for example Smith noted that in the present stage of Europe a man of ten
149

thousand a year might maintain only a limited number of footmen, and that while tradesmen and articers might be dependent on his custom, none the less they are all more or less independent of him, because generally they can all be maintained without him (III.iv.11). From the standpoint of the economics of the situation, the signicant development was that of a two sector economy at the domestic level where the constant drive to better our condition could provide the maximum stimulus to economic growth within an institutional framework which ensured that the pursuit of private interest was compatible with public benet. From the standpoint of the politics of the situation, the signicant development was a new source of wealth which was more widely distributed than previously, and which ultimately had the effect of limiting the power of kings by shifting the balance of consideration away from the old landed aristocracy and towards a new mercantile class. In the words of John Millar, it was a general trend which served to propagate sentiments of personal independence, as a result of a change in the mode of earning subsistence; a trend which must lead us to expect that the prerogatives of the monarch and of the ancient nobility will be gradually undermined, that the privileges of the people will be extended in the same proportion, and that power, the usual attendant of wealth, will be in some measure diffused over all the members of the community.4 Once again we face a situation where a change in the mode of earning subsistence has altered the balance and distribution of political power, with consequent effects on the nature of government. Once again, we nd a situation where the basis of authority and obedience are found in the principles of utility and authority, but where the signicance of the latter is diminished (and the former increased) by the change in the pattern of dependence. It is also a situation where the ease with which fortunes may be dissipated makes it increasingly unlikely that economic, and thus political, power, will remain in the hands of particular families over long periods of time. The two areas of argument just considered disclose a number of interesting features. The TMS for example can be seen to accept the proposition that mankind are always found in troops and companies and to offer an explanation as to how it is that man is tted for the society of his fellows. In developing this argument Smith, as we have seen, makes much of the importance of the rules of morality (including justice), while offering an explanation of their origin of a kind which places him in the antirationalist tradition of Hutcheson and Hume. At the same time it is evident that the form of argument used discloses Smiths awareness of the fact that human experience may vary; a point which is made explicitly in the TMS, and which is reected in the fact that he did not seek to dene the content of general rules in any but the most general terms. The historical argument on the other hand, can be seen to offer an explanation for the origin of government (whose necessity was merely postulated in the TMS), and at the same time indirectly to throw some light on the causes of change in accepted patterns of behaviour as a result of the emphasis given to the four socioeconomic stages of growth. This same argument may also

150

throw into relief certain problems which the TMS does not formally handle; by drawing attention to the fact that societies are not homogeneous, and to the possibility of a conict of values. Interestingly enough, exactly this point is made in the WN in the course of a discussion of religion: In every civilized society, in every society where the distinction of ranks has once been completely established, there have been always two different schemes or systems of morality current at the same time (V.i.g.10). But for the present purpose the most important connections are those which exist between the ethics and jurisprudence on the one hand, and the economics on the other. The historical analysis, for example, has the benet of showing that the commercial stage or exchange economy may be regarded as the product of certain historical processes, and of demonstrating that where such a form of economy prevails, a particular social structure or set of relations between classes is necessarily presupposed. At the same time the argument (developed especially in Book III of the WN) helps to demonstrate that a particular form of government will be associated with the same socioeconomic institutions; a form of government which in the particular case of England had been perfected by the Revolution Settlement, and which reected the growing importance of the middling ranks. But perhaps the links between the economic analysis and the TMS are even more readily apparent and possibly more important. As we have seen, the whole point of the TMS is to show that society, like the individual men who make it up, represents something of a balance between opposing forces; a form of argument which gave due weight to our selfregarding propensities (much as Hutcheson had done) but which departs from the teaching of Hutcheson in denying that Selflove was a principle which could never be virtuous in any degree or in any direction (TMS VII.ii.3.12). In much the same way Smith denied Mandevilles suggestion that the pursuit of whatever is agreeable in dress, furniture, or equipage should be regarded as vicious (VII.ii.4.12). To both he in effect replied that the condition of human nature were peculiarly hard, if those affections, which, by the very nature of our being, ought frequently to inuence our conduct, could upon no occasion appear virtuous, or deserve esteem and commendation from any body (VII.ii.3.18). In many respects Smith was at his most successful in showing that the desire to be approved of by our fellows, which was so important in the discussion of moral judgement, was also relevant in the economic sphere. As we have seen, he argued that the whole object of bettering our condition was to nd ourselves as objects of general esteem, and noted elsewhere that we cannot live long in the world without perceiving that the respect of our equals, our credit and rank in the society we live in, depend very much upon the degree in which we possess, or are supposed to possess, the advantages of external fortune (VI.i.3). While the pursuit of status and the imagined conveniences of wealth were important sources of dispute, Smith also emphasized their economic advantage even within the connes of the TMS. It is such drives, he asserted, which serve to rouse and keep in continual motion the industry of mankind (IV.i.1.10) and he went on to note that those who have attained fortune are, in expending it,

151

led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. (ibid.) Equally interesting is the fact that Smith should also have discussed at such length the means whereby the poor man may seek to attain the advantages of fortune, in emphasizing the importance of prudence, a virtue which, being uncommon, commands general admiration and explains that eminent esteem with which all men naturally regard a steady perseverance in the practice of frugality, industry, and application, though directed to no other purpose than the acquisition of fortune (IV.i.2.8). It is indeed somewhat remarkable that it is the TMS, and in particular that portion of it (Part VI) which Smith wrote just before his death, that provides the most complete account of the psychology of Smiths public benefactor: the frugal man.

Economic Theory and the Exchange Economy


In terms of Smiths teaching, his work on economics was designed to follow on his treatment of ethics and jurisprudence, and therefore to add something to the sum total of our knowledge of the activities of man in society. To this extent, each of the three subjects can be seen to be interconnected, although it is also true to say that each component of the system contains material which distinguishes it from the others. One part of Smiths achievement was in fact to see all these different subjects as parts of a single whole, while at the same time differentiating economics from them. Looked at in this way, the economic analysis involves a high degree of abstraction which can be seen in a number of ways. For example, in his economic work, Smith was concerned only with some aspects of the psychology of man and in fact conned his attention to the selfregarding propensities; a fact which is neatly expressed in his famous statement that It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest (WN I.ii.2). Moreover, Smith was not concerned, at least in his formal analysis, with a level of moral or social experience other than that involved in a mercenary exchange of good ofces according to an agreed valuation (TMS II.ii.3.2); in short, all that the economic work requires is a situation where the minimum condition of justice obtains. Given this basic premiss, together with the hypothesis of selfinterest, Smith then set out to explain the interdependence of economic phenomena. There are of course two types of account as to the way in which Smith fullled these purposes; one represented by the state of his knowledge when he left Glasgow in 1763, and the other by the WN itself. We now have two versions of Smiths lecture course, together with the so called early draft of the WN; sufcient at least to provide an adequate guide to the ground covered. There are differences between these documents: LJ (A), for example, while generally more elaborate, is less complete than LJ (B): it does not, for example, consider such topics as Laws Bank, interest, exchange, or the causes of the slow progress of opulence. The ED, on the other hand, contains a much more elaborate account of the division of labour than that provided in either of the lecture
152

notes, although it has nothing to say regarding the link between the division of labour and the extent of the market. While the coverage of the ED is very similar to that found in LJ (B) it is also true to say that topics other than the division of labour are dealt with in note form. But these are basically differences in detail: the three documents are not marked by any major shifts of emphasis or of analytical perspective, and it is this fact which makes it quite appropriate to take LJ (B) as a reasonable guide to the state of Smiths thought on economics in the early 1760s. Turning now to this version of the lectures, one cannot fail to be struck by the same quality of system which we have already had occasion to note elsewhere. The lectures begin with a discussion of the natural wants of man; a discussion already present in the ethics. Smith links this thesis to the development of the arts and of productive forces, before going on to remark on the material enjoyments available to the ordinary man in the modern state as compared to the chief of some savage nation. In both the lectures and the ED Smith continued to note that, while it cannot be difcult to explain the superior advantages of the rich man as compared to the savage, it seems at rst sight more difcult to explain why the peasant should likewise be better provided (ED 2.2), especially given the fact that he who bears, as it were, upon his shoulders the whole fabric of human society, seems himself to be pressed down below ground by the weight, and to be buried out of sight in the lowest foundations of the building (ED 2.3). The answer to this seeming paradox was found in the division of labour, which explained the great improvement in the productive powers of modern man. Smith continued to examine the sources of so great an increase in productivity, tracing the origin of the institution to the famous propensity to truck, barter and exchange, while observing that the scope of this development must be limited by the extent of the market. Examination of the division of labour led directly to Smiths point that unlike the savage the modern man was largely dependent on the labour of others for the satisfaction of his full range of wants, thus directing attention to the importance of exchange. In the course of this discussion, Smith introduced the problem of price and the distinction between natural and market price. In the Lectures, natural price (or supply price) was largely dened in terms of labour cost, the argument being that: A man then has the natural price of his labour when it is sufcient to maintain him during the time of labour, to defray the expence of education, and to compensate the risk of not living long enough and of not succeeding in the business. When a man has this, there is sufcient encouragement to the labourer and the commodity will be cultivated in proportion to the demand. (LJ (B) 227, ed. Cannan 176) Market price, on the other hand, was stated to be regulated by quite other circumstances, these being: the demand or need for the commodity, the abundance or scarcity of the commodity in proportion to the need of it and the riches or poverty of those who demand (LJ (B) 2278, ed. Cannan 1767). Smith then went on to argue that while distinct, these prices were necessarily connected and to show that where the market exceeded the natural price, labour would crowd into this employment, thus expanding the supply, and vice versa, leading to the conclusion that in equilibrium the two prices would tend to coincide. Smith quite clearly understood
153

that resources would tend to move between employments where there were differences in the available rates of return, thus showing a grasp of the interdependence of economic phenomena which led him to speak of a natural balance of industry and of the natural connection of all trades in the stock (LJ (B) 2334, ed. Cannan 18081). Progressing logically from this point, Smith proceeded to show that any policy which prevented the market prices of goods from coinciding with their supply prices, such as monopolies or bounties, would tend to diminish public opulence and derange the distribution of stock between different employments. The discussion of price led in turn to the treatment of money as the means of exchange; to a review of the qualities of the metals which made them so suitable as a means of exchange and to the discussion of coinage.5 Smith also included an account of the problems of debasement at this stage of his analysis, making in the course of his argument a point with which he is not always associated, namely, that where the value of money is falling People are disposed to keep their goods from the market, as they know not what they will get for them (LJ (B) 242, ed. Cannan 188). It was in the course of this analysis that Smith dened money as merely the instrument of exchange, at least under normal circumstances, going on to suggest that it was essentially a dead stock in itself ; a point which helped to conrm the benecial effects of the erection of banks and paper credit (LJ (B) 246, ed. Cannan 191). This argument led quite naturally to a critique of the prejudice that opulence consists in money and to Smiths argument that mercantile policy as currently understood was essentially selfcontradictory, and that it hindered the division of labour by articially restricting the extent of the market. It was a short step to the conclusion (stated with characteristic caution) that: From the above considerations it appears that Brittain should by all means be made a free port, that there should be no interruptions of any kind made to forreign trade, that if it were possible to defray the expences of government by any other method, all duties, customs, and excise should be abolished, and that free commerce and liberty of exchange should be allowed with all nations and for all things. (LJ (B) 269, ed. Cannan 209)6 It will be obvious that that section of the lectures which deals with cheapness and plenty does in fact contain many of the subjects which were to gure in the WN. It also appears that many of his central ideas were already present in a relatively sophisticated form: ideas such as equilibrium price, the working of the allocative mechanism, and the associated concept of the natural balance of industry. Smith also made allowance for the importance of stock both in discussing the natural connection of all stocks in trade and with reference to the division of labour, while the distinction between employer and employed is surely implied in the discussion of the individual whose sole function is to contribute the eighteenth part of a pin. Yet at the same time there is also a good deal missing from the lectures; there is, for example, no clear distinction between factors of production and categories of return,7 not to mention the

154

macroeconomic analysis of the second Book of the WN with its model of the circular ow and discussion of capital accumulation. While the distinction between rent, wages, and prots, may have come from James Oswald, or emerged as the natural consequence of Smiths own reection on his lectures (which seems very probable), the macroeconomic model which nally appeared in the WN may well have owed something, either directly or indirectly, to Smiths contact with the Physiocrats, and especially those who revised the system, such as Mercier de la Rivire, Baudeau and Turgot.8 It is obviously difcult to the point of impossibility to establish the extent of Smiths debts to his predecessors, and Dugald Stewart probably had the right of it when he remarked that After all, perhaps the merit of such a work as Mr Smiths is to be estimated less from the novelty of the principles it contains, than from the reasonings employed to support these principles, and from the scientic manner in which they are unfolded in their proper order and connexion (Stewart, IV.26). While Stewart duly noted that Smith had made an original contribution to the subject it need not surprise us to discover that the WN (like the TMS) may also represent a great synthetic performance whose real distinction was to exhibit a systematical view of the most important articles of Political Economy (Stewart, IV.27); a systematical view whose content shows a clear development both from Smiths state of knowledge as it existed in the 1760s, and from that represented by the Physiocrats as a School.9 While it would be inappropriate to review here the pattern of this development in detail (a task which we have attempted to fulll in the notes to the text) it may be useful to delineate at least some of the elements of the reformulated system albeit in the broadest terms. The rst three chapters of the WN begin with an examination of the division of labour which closely follows the elaborate account provided in the ED.10 The most obvious changes, as regards the latter document, relate to the provision of a separate chapter linking the division of labour to the extent of the market using an account which often parallels that found in the two fragments, which W. R. Scott had thought to be part of the Edinburgh Lectures.11 It is also interesting to note that the discussion of inequality is omitted from the WN and that the argument as a whole is no longer prefaced by a statement of the thesis of natural wants. The following chapter is also recognizably a development of the earlier work, and deals with the inconveniences of barter, the advantages of the metals as a medium of exchange, and the necessity for coinage; the only major difference relates to arrangement in that the discussion of money now precedes that of price. Chapter v, which leads on from the previous discussion, does however break new ground in discussing the distinction between real and nominal price. In this place Smith was anxious to establish the point that while the individual very naturally measures the value of his receipts in money terms, the real measure of welfare is to be established by the moneys worth, where the latter is determined by the quantity of products (i.e. labour commanded) which can be acquired. In this chapter Smith was not so directly concerned with the problem of exchange value as normally understood, so much as with nding an invariable measure of value which would permit him to compare levels of economic welfare at different periods of time. It was probably this particular perspective which led him to state but not to solve the socalled paradox of valuea paradox which he had already explained in the Lectures.12
155

Chapter vi leads on to a discussion of the component parts of the price of commodities and once more breaks new ground in formally isolating the three main factors of production and the three associated forms of monetary revenue: rent, wages and prot. These distinctions are, of course, of critical importance, and perhaps Smiths acute awareness of the fact is reected in his anxiety to show how easily they may be confused. Chapter vii then proceeds to discuss the determinants of price, developing ideas already present in the Lectures but in the more sophisticated form appropriate to the threefold factor division. This section of Smiths work is perhaps among the best from a purely analytical point of view, and is quite remarkable for the formality with which the argument unfolds. For example, the analysis is explicitly static in that Smith takes as given certain rates of factor payment (the natural rates), treating the factors as stocks rather than ows. Smiths old concept of natural price is then redened as obtaining when a commodity can be sold at a price which covers the natural rates of rent, wages, and prots, i.e. its cost of production. Market price, on the other hand, (the actual price) is shown to be determined by specic relations of demand and supply while both prices are interconnected in that any divergence of the market from the natural price must raise or lower the rates of factor payment in relation to their natural rates, thus generating a ow of factors which has the effect of bringing the market and natural prices to equality.13 The argument then proceeds to the discussion of those forces which determine the natural rates of return to factors. Chapter viii takes up the problem of wages, and argues that this form of return is payable for the use of a productive resource and normally arises where the labourer is one person, and the owner of the stock which employs him another (I.viii.10). While making allowance for the relative importance of the bargaining position of the two parties, Smith concluded that the wage rate would normally be determined by the size of the wages fund and the supply of labour, where both are affected by the price of wage goods. Now this argument means that the wage rate actually payable in a given (annual) period may vary considerably (i.e. the prevailing or natural rate of the theory of price) as compared to other such time periods, and that it may be above, below, or equal to, the subsistence wage (where the latter must be sufcient to maintain the labourer and his family, including an allowance for customary expense). Smith illustrates these possibilities in terms of the examples of advancing, stationary, and declining economies, using this argument to suggest that whenever the prevailing wage rate sinks below, or rises above, the subsistence wage, then in the long run there will be a population adjustment. Chapter ix shows the same basic features: that is, Smith sets out to show why prot accrues and in so doing differentiates it from interest as a category of return, while arguing that it is not a return for the work of inspection and direction but rather for the risks involved in combining the factors of production. Again, there is a static element in that Smith, while admitting the difculty of nding an average rate of prot, argues that some indication will be given by the rate of interest, and that the rate of prot will be determined by the level of stock in relation to the business to be transacted together with the prevailing wage rate. Once more there is also a concern

156

with the dynamics of the case, i.e. with the trend of prots over time, the conclusion being that prots, like wages, would tend to fall, as the number of capitals increases. The following chapter is a direct development from the two which preceded it and is chiey concerned with the static aspects of the theory of allocation and returns. In dealing with the theory of net advantage, Smith provides a more elaborate account of the doctrine already found in the Lectures, and there conned to the discussion of labour. In the present context Smith dropped the assumption of given rates of factor payment (as made at the beginning of I.vii) in explaining that rates of monetary return may be expected to vary with the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the work, the cost of learning a trade, the constancy or inconstancy of employment, the great or small trust which may be involved, and the probability or improbability of success. Of these it is argued that only the rst and the last affect prots, thus explaining the greater uniformity of rates of return (as compared to wages) in different employments. The whole purpose of the rst section of this chapter is to elaborate on the above circumstances and to show, at least where there is perfect liberty, that different rates of monetary return need occasion no difference in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages, real or imaginary which affect different employments (I.x.b.39). In terms of the discussion of the price mechanism, we now have a complex of rates of return in different employments and an equilibrium situation where the rate of return in each type of employment stands in such a relation to the others as to ensure that there is no tendency to enter or leave any one of them. The same argument adds a further dimension of difculty to Smiths account of the allocative mechanism, by drawing attention to the problem of moving between employments which require different skills or levels of training.14 Mobility is in fact the theme of the second part of the chapter where (again elaborating on ideas present in the Lectures) Smith shows the various ways in which the policy of Europe prevented the equality of advantages and disadvantages which would otherwise arise; citing such examples as the privileges of corporations, the statute of apprenticeship, public endowments and especially the poor law. The closing chapter of Book I is concerned with the third and nal form of returnrentand is among the longest and most complex of the whole work. But perhaps the following points can be made when looking at the chapter from the standpoint of Smiths analytical system. First, and most obviously, the general structure of the chapter is similar to those which deal with wages and prot. That is, Smith initially tries to explain what rent is in suggesting that it is the price which must be paid for a scarce resource which is a part of the property of individuals, and in arguing that it must vary with the fertility and situation of the land. Unlike the other forms of revenue, Smith emphasized that rent was unique in that it accrued without necessarily requiring any effort from those to whom it was due, and that what was a cost to the individual farmer was really a surplus as far as society was concerned; a point which led Smith to the famous statement that rent enters into the composition of the price of commodities in a different way from wages and prot. High or low wages and prot, are the causes of high or low price; high or low rent is the effect of it. (I.xi.a.8.)
157

Secondly, it is noteworthy that the analysis continues the static theme already found in the theory of price, wages, and prots, by concentrating attention on the forces which determine the allocation of land between alternative uses (such as the production of corn and cattle) and in suggesting, at least in the general case, that rent payments would tend to equality in these different uses. Thirdly, it is noteworthy that Smith should have included a dynamic perspective in the discussion of allocation, of such a kind as to make his historical sketch of the changing pattern of land use an important, if rather neglected, aspect of his general theory of economic development. Finally, Smith continues the dynamic theme in the form in which it appears in the previous chapters by considering the long term trends as far as this form of return is concerned; the conclusion being that rent payments must increase as more land is brought into use under the pressure of a growing population, and that the real value of such payments must rise given that the real price of manufactures tends to fall in the long run. If we look back over this Book from the (rather narrow) perspective of Smiths system, it will be evident that the argument is built up quite logically by dealing with a number of separate but interrelated subjects such as costs, price, and returns. At the same time two themes appear to run through the treatment of the different subjects: a static theme in that Smith is often concerned to explain the forces which determine the prevailing rates of return at particular points in time, together with the working of the allocative mechanisms, with factors treated as stocks rather than as ows; and, secondly, a dynamic aspect where Smith considers the general trends of factor payments over long periods, together with the pattern of land use and the probable changes in the real value of wage goods and manufactures. Both of these major themes were to nd a place in the analysis of the following Books. The Introduction to Book II sets the theme of the following chapters by taking the reader back to the division of labour and by reiterating a point which had already been made in the Lectures, namely that the division of labour depends on the prior accumulation of stock. An important difference here, however, as compared to the Lectures, is to be found in the fact that the task of accumulation is now seen to face the employer of labour rather than the labourer himself. Chapter i then proceeds to elaborate on the nature of stock and its applications in suggesting that the individual may devote a part of his stock to consumption purposes, and therefore earn no revenue or income from it, while a part may be devoted to the acquisition of income. In the latter case stock is divided, in the manner of the physiocrats, into circulating and xed capital; it is also shown that different trades will require different combinations of the two types of stock and that no xed capital can produce an income except when used in combination with a circulating capital. Reasoning by analogy, Smith proceeded to argue that the stock of society taken as a whole could be divided into the same basic parts. In this connection he suggested that in any given period (such as a year) there would be a certain stock of goods, both perishable and durable reserved for immediate consumption, one characteristic being that such goods were used up at different rates. Secondly, he argued that society as a whole would possess a certain xed capital,
158

where the latter included such items as machines and useful instruments of trade, stocks of buildings which were used for productive purposes, improved lands, and the acquired and useful abilities of the inhabitants (i.e. human capital). Finally, he identied the circulating capital of society as including the supply of money necessary to carry out circulation, the stocks of materials and goods in process held by the manufacturers or farmers, and the stocks of completed goods available for sale but still in the hands of producers or merchants as distinct from their proper consumers. Such an argument is interesting in that it provides an example of the ease with which Smith moved from the discussion of micro to the discussion of macroeconomic issues. At the same time it serves to introduce Smiths account of the circular ow, whereby he shows how, within a particular time period, goods available for sale are used up by the parties to exchange. In Smiths terminology, the pattern of events is such that the necessary purchases of goods by consumers and producers features a withdrawal from the circulating capital of society, with the resulting purchases being used up during the current period or added to either the xed capital or the stock of goods reserved for immediate consumption. As he pointed out, the constant withdrawal of goods requires replacement, and this can be done only through the production of additional raw materials and nished goods in both main sectors (agriculture and manufactures) thus exposing the real exchange which is annually made between those two orders of people (II.i.28). The basic division into types of capital, and this particular way of visualizing the working of the process, may well owe a great deal to the Physiocrats, even if the basic sectoral division had already been suggested by Hume. The remaining chapters of the Book are basically concerned to elaborate on the relations established in the rst. For example, chapter ii makes the division into classes (proprietors, undertakers, wagelabour) explicit and establishes another connection with the analysis of Book I by reminding the reader that if the price of each commodity taken singly comprehends payments for rent, wages, and prots, then this must be true of all commodities taken complexly, so that in any given (annual) period aggregate income must be divided between the three factors of production in such a way as to reect the prevailing levels of demand for, and supply of, them. Once again we nd an implicit return to the static analysis of Book I, save at a macroeconomic level. The relationship between output and income adds something to Smiths general picture of the circular ow and at the same time enabled him to expand on his account by drawing a distinction between gross and net aggregate output where the latter is established by deducting the cost of maintaining the xed capital (together with the costs of maintaining the money supply) from the gross product. In this way Smith was able to indicate the desirability of reducing the maintenance costs of the xed capital, and of the money supply (a part of societys circulating capital), introducing by this means the discussion of paper money (a cheaper instrument than coin) and of banks. The chapter goes on to provide a very long account of Scottish affairs in the 1760s and 1770s, together with a history of the Bank of England. Laws Bank is accorded a single paragraph, in contrast to the treatment in the Lectures, on the ground that its activities had already been adequately exposed by Messrs. DuVerney and DuTot. The Bank of Amsterdam, also men-

159

tioned in the conclusion of this chapter and in the Lectures, was accorded a separate digression in WN IV.iv. The third chapter of the Book elaborates still further on the basic model by introducing a distinction between income in the aggregate and the proportion of that income devoted to consumption (revenue) or to savings. Smith also introduced the famous distinction between productive and unproductive labour at this point, where the former is involved in the creation of commodities and therefore of income while the latter is involved in the provision of services. Smith does not, of course, deny that services (such as defence or justice) are useful or even necessary, he merely wished to point out that the labour which is involved in the provision of a service is always maintained by the industry of other people and that it does not directly contribute to aggregate output. Smiths argument was of course that funds intended to function as a capital would always be devoted to the employment of productive labour, while those intended to act as a revenue might maintain either productive or unproductive labour. Two points arise from this argument: rst, that the productive capacity of any society would depend on the proportion in which total income was distributed between revenue and capital; and, secondly, that capitals could only be increased through parsimony, i.e. through a willingness to forego present advantages with a view to attaining some greater future benet. It was in fact Smiths view that net savings would always be possible during any given annual period, and that the effort would always be made through mans natural desire to better his condition. Moreover, he evidently believed that wherever savings were made they would be converted into investment virtually sur le champ (thus providing another parallel with Turgot) and that the rapid progress which had been made by England conrmed this general trend. In Book II economic dynamics begins to overshadow the static branch of the subject: an important reminder that Smiths version of the circular ow is to be seen as a spiral of constantly expanding dimensions, rather than as a circle of constant size. It is also worth emphasizing in this connection that Smiths concern with economic growth takes us back in a sense to the oldest part of the edice, namely his treatment of the division of labour, the point being that the increasing size of the market gives greater scope to this institution, thus enhancing the possibilities for expansion, which are further stimulated by technical change in the shape of the ow of invention (I.i.8). The fourth and fth chapters of this book offer further insights into the working of the ow on the one hand, and the theory of economic growth on the other. II.iv, for example, contains not only an account of the determinants of interest, but conrms that interest is distinct from prot as a form of return, while introducing the monied interest as something separate from the manufacturing and agricultural interests. The following chapter adds four additional uses for capitals (again providing a close parallel with Turgot) in stating that they may be used in the wholesale or retail trades in addition to all those above mentioned. Thus as far as our understanding of the circular ow is concerned, Smith argues that the retailer in purchasing from the wholesale merchant in effect replaces the capital which the latter had laid out in purchasing commodities for sale; purchases which had themselves contributed to replace the capitals advanced by the farmers or manufacturers in creat-

160

ing them. In the same way, the manufacturer, for example, in making purchases of the instruments of trade replaces the outlay of some fellow undertaker while his purchases of raw materials contribute to restore the capitals laid out by the farmers on their production.15 Smiths enumeration of the different employments of capital is also relevant as far as his theory of growth is concerned, because each one can be shown to give employment to different quantities of productive labour. While he had already observed in the Lectures that agriculture was the most productive form of investment, the argument was here expanded to suggest that manufacture was the next most productive, followed by the wholesale and retail trades. He also argued with regard to the wholesale trade, that its contribution to the maintenance of productive labour varied, in declining order of importance, according as it was concerned with the home trade, the foreign trade of consumption, or the carrying trade, where the critical factor was the frequency of returns. A further dimension was added to this discussion in the opening chapter of Book III where it is suggested that, when left to their own devices, men would naturally choose to invest in agriculture, manufactures, and trade (in that order) thus contributing to maximize the rate of growth by choosing those forms of investment which generated the greatest level of output for a given injection of capital. Smiths thesis concerning the different productivities of capital and the associated (although logically distinct) argument concerning the natural progress of opulence are sometimes regarded as being among the less successful parts of the edice; a fact which makes it all the more important to observe the great burden which they are made to bear in the subsequent argument. In Book III, for example, Smith uses the history of Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire to conrm that the pattern of development had inverted the natural order, in the sense that the stimulus to economic advance had initially come through the cities with their trade in surpluses. As we shall see in another context, (below, p. 55) the development of trade had given a stimulus to domestic manufactures based on the renement of local goods or on imitation of the foreigner; a pattern of events which eventually impinged on the agrarian sector, and which is made to explain the transition to the nal economic stage. Smith thus suggests that a process of development regarded as natural from the standpoint of the theory of history, was essentially unnatural from the standpoint of the analysis of the progress of opulence. However, the argument does explain the position of the third Book and the use there made of historical material which had been included in the Lectures, where it had been mainly intended to serve a very different purpose to that found in the WN. The second main application of the thesis is in Book IV where Smith returns to a theme which had already gured prominently in the Lectures; the critique of mercantilism. Many of the points which had been made in the earlier work undoubtedly reappear in this section of the WN. In the WN, the mercantile system, with its associated patterns of control over the import, export, and production of commodities, is again shown to be based on an erroneous notion of wealth. Smith also argues, as he had before, that the chief engines of mercantilism, such as monopoly powers, adversely affect the allocative mechanism and to this extent affect economic welfare. But the main burden of his argument concerning distortion in the use of resources runs in terms not of the static allocative mechanism, so much as the essentially dynamic theory of the
161

natural progress of opulence, the argument being that mercantile policy had diverted stock to less productive uses, with slower returns, than would otherwise have been the case. This argument is particularly marked in Smiths treatment of the colonial relationship with America; a relationship which was central to the mercantile system as presented by Smith, and which sought to create a selfsufcient economic unit.16 In this connection Smith argued that the mercantile system was essentially selfcontradictory: that by encouraging the output of rude products in America, Great Britain had helped (unwittingly) only to accelerate an already rapid rate of growth to an extent which would inevitably make the restrictions imposed on American manufactures unduly burdensome. As far as Great Britain was concerned, Smith believed that her concentration on the American market had in effect drawn capital from trades carried on with European outlets and diverted it to the more distant one of America, while at the same time forcing a certain amount of capital from a direct to an indirect trade. Obviously, all of this must have had an adverse effect on the rate of economic growth in Great Britain; a matter of some moment, in that, as Smith represents the case, a country with a suboptimal rate of growth happened to face an increasing burden of costs from the colonies themselves. It is a plausible, powerful, thesis which may be defended on a variety of grounds other than those on which Smith relied. But, as one shrewd contemporary critic noted, Smiths view on the different productivities of investment was central to his case, and he begged leave to arrest his steps for a moment, while we examine the ground whereon we tread: and the more so, as I nd these propositions used in the second part of your work as data; whence you endeavour to prove, that the monopoly of the colony trade is a disadvantageous . . . institution.17

The Role of the State


While the immediately preceding sections have concentrated to a large extent on the structure and organization of Smiths thought, perhaps enough has also been said regarding its content to illustrate the existence of another kind of system; an analytical system which treats the economy as a type of model analogous to some kind of machine whose parts are unconscious of their mutual connection, or of the end which their interaction serves to promote, but where that interaction is governed by the laws of the machine. In economic terms, these lawgoverned processes refer, for example, to the working of the allocative mechanism, the theory of distribution, or of economic growth. The components of the model are of course the sectors, the classes, and the individuals whose pursuit of gain contributes to the effective working of the whole. Thus, for example, the undertaker in pursuit of gain contributes to economic efciency by endeavouring to make such a proper division and distribution of stock amongst his workmen as to enable them to produce the greatest quantity of work possible. The individual workman or undertaker offers his services in the most lucrative employments and helps to ensure, by this means, that goods are sold at their cost of production, and all factors are paid at their natural rates. Similarly, the constant desire to better ones condition contributes to the ow of savings and thus to the process of economic growth. In all these cases social benet and economic order are the result of the self

162

interested actions of individuals rather than the consequences of some formal plan; indeed, Smith went further in insisting that public benet would not and need not form any part of the normal motivation of the main actors in the drama. The famous doctrine of the invisible hand, already pregured in the TMS in precisely this connection, was designed to show that the individual, in pursuing his own objectives, contributed to the public benet, thereby promoting an end which was no part of his intention (WN IV.ii.9).18 Now this general view of the working of economic processes is important in that it helps to explain the functions which any government ought ideally to undertake, and the way in which these functions should be performed; broadly speaking, a subject which provides the focal point of Book V. In terms of the model itself, for example, governments have no strictly economic functions, at least in the sense that the sovereign should be discharged from the duty of superintending the industry of private people, and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society (IV.ix.51). And yet, the functions of the state, if minimal, are quite indispensable in the sense that it must provide for such (unproductive) services as defence, justice, and those public works which are unlikely to be provided by the market because the prot could never repay the expence to any individual or small number of individuals (IV.ix.51). Smiths list of public services is a short one, but the discussion of the principles on which their provision should be organized is developed at some length and is interesting for two main reasons. First, Smith argued that public services should be provided only where the market has failed to do so; secondly, he suggested that the main problems with regard to such services were those of equity and efciency. With regard to equity, Smith suggested, for example, that public services should always be paid for by those who use them (including roads and bridges). He also defended the principle of direct payment on the ground of efciency in arguing that it is only in this way that we can avoid the building of roads through deserts for the sake of some private interest, or a situation where a great bridge is thrown over a river at a place where nobody passes, or merely to embellish the view from the windows of a neighbouring palace: things which sometimes happen, in countries where works of this kind are carried on by any other revenue than that which they themselves are capable of affording (V.i.d.6). At the same time Smith insisted that all public services should be provided by such bodies as found it in their interest to do so effectively, and that they should be organized in such a way as to take account of the selfinterested nature of man. Smith stated his basic belief in remarking that Publick services are never better performed than when their reward comes only in consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the diligence employed in performing them (V.i.b.20). He tirelessly emphasized this point, especially in reference to university teaching, while reminding his readers that the principle held good in all situations and in all trades. Of course, Smith did recognise the limitations of this principle and the fact that it would not always be possible to fund or to maintain public services without recourse to general taxation. But here again the main features of the analytical system are relevant in that they affect the way in which taxation should, where possible, be handled. Thus Smith pointed out on welfare grounds that taxation should be imposed according to the famous canons of equality, certainty, conven-

163

ience, and economy, and insisted that they should not be levied in ways which infringed the liberty of the subjectfor example, through the odious visits and examinations of the taxgatherer (V.ii.b.37). Similarly he argued that ideally taxes ought not to interfere with the allocative mechanism (as for example, taxes on necessities) or constitute important disincentives to the individual effort on which the working of the whole system has been seen to depend (such as taxes on prots). In short, Smiths recommendations with regard to the functions of government are designed to ensure the freedom of the individual to pursue his own (socially benecial) ends and merely require that the state should provide such services as facilitate the working of the system, while conforming to the constraints of human nature and the market mechanism. Looked at from this point of view, Smiths discussion of the role of the state is very much a part of his general model and conrms his view that the task of political economy, considered as a part of the science of the statesman or legislator, is to provide a plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such a revenue or subsistence for themselves (IV.Intro.1). But Smith went much further than this in discussing the role of the state, and in ways which remind us of his essentially practical concerns, and of the importance of other branches of his general system such as the theory of history and the TMS. To begin with, it will already be evident that one thread which runs through the WN involves criticism of those contemporary institutions which impeded the realization in its entirety of the system of natural liberty. Broadly speaking, these impediments can be reduced to four main categories each one of which Smith wished to see removed. First, there is the problem (already raised in terms of the historical analysis) that Laws frequently continue in force long after the circumstances, which rst gave occasion to them, and which could alone render them reasonable, are no more (III.ii.4). Secondly, Smith drew attention to certain institutions which had their origins in the past but which still commanded active support; institutions such as guilds and corporations, which could still regulate the government of trades. All such arrangements were, in Smiths view impolitic because they impeded the working of the allocative mechanism and unjust because they were a violation of this most sacred property which every man has in his own labour (I.x.c.12). In a very similar way Smith commented on the problems presented by the poor law and the laws of settlement and summarized his appeal to government in these terms: break down the exclusive privileges of corporations, and repeal the statute of apprenticeship, both which are real encroachments upon natural liberty, and add to these the repeal of the law of settlements . . . (IV.ii.42). Thirdly, Smith criticised the continuing use of positions of privilege, such as monopoly powers, which did not necessarily have any particular link with the past. Here again the basic theme remains, that such institutions are impolitic and unjust: unjust because they are positions of privilege and impolitic because they again affect the working of the allocative mechanism, being besides, a great enemy to good management (I.xi.b.5). Finally, we have the main theme of Book IV which we have already had occasion to mention; that is Smiths call for a reform of national policy in so far as that was represented by the mercantile system.

164

All this amounts to a very considerable programme of reform, although, quite characteristically, Smith recognized that reality would fall a long way short of perfection, and that it could do so without damage to that fundamental drive to better our condition or to the capacity of that drive to overcome a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations (IV.v.b.43). Smith recognized the existence of many practical difculties; that people are attached to old forms and institutions for example, quite as much as to old families and kings, and also that sectional economic pressures would always nd some means of inuencing the legislature in their favour, precisely because of those same economic forces which helped to explain the historical dominance of the House of Commons in England.19 For such reasons he concluded that To expect, indeed, that the freedom of trade should ever be entirely restored in Great Britain, is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or Utopia should ever be established in it (IV.ii.43). If points such as these contribute to qualify the rather optimistic thesis with which Smith is generally associated, the impression is further conrmed by those passages in the WN (occurring mainly in Book V) which bear more directly on the analysis of the TMS. In the former work, it will be remembered that welfare is typically dened in material terms; in terms of the level of real income, i.e. the extent to which the individual can command the produce (or labour) of others. On the other hand, in the philosophical work welfare was dened more in terms of the quality of life attainable, where quality refers to a level of moral experience greater than that involved in the mercenary exchange of good ofces according to an agreed valuation. There is of course no inconsistency between these two positions, since the two major books, while analytically linked, in fact refer to different areas of human experience. But at the same time Smith made a number of points in the WN which establish an important link between the philosophical and economic aspects of his study of man in society, while constituting a reminder that welfare should not be considered solely in economic terms. In this connection Smith drew attention to the fact that the worker in a large manufactory was liable to the temptations of bad company with consequent effects on moral standards (I.viii.48). In the same vein he also mentioned the problems presented by large cities where, unlike the rich man who is noticed by the public and who therefore has an incentive to attend to his own conduct, the poor man is sunk in obscurity and darkness. His conduct is observed and attended to by nobody, and he is therefore very likely to neglect it himself, and to abandon himself to every sort of low proigacy and vice. (V.i.g.12.) To this extent, the importance of the spectator is undermined, and so too may be those faculties and propensities on which moral experience has been seen to depend (a separate point). For Smith drew attention to the fact that the division of labour which had contributed to economic growth through the subdivision and simplication of productive processes, had at the same time conned the activities of the worker to a few simple operations which gave no stimulus to the exercise of his mind, thus widening the gulf between the philosopher and the ordinary man or his employer. Smith believed that the worker could lose the habit of mental exertion, thus gradually becoming as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become and he went on, in a famous passage, to remark:

165

The torpor of his mind renders him, not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life. (V.i.f.50) As Smith duly noted, this general trend could produce the apparently paradoxical result that while the inhabitants of the fourth economic stage enjoyed far greater material benets than those available to the hunter or savage, yet the latter would be more likely to exercise his mental faculties and to this extent be better off (V.i.f.51). Smith recognized that the occupations of the savage were unlikely to produce an improved and rened understanding, but his main point was that in the modern state this renement can only be attained by the few who are able to reect at large on a wide range of problems, including the social. As Smith put it, in a passage which once again reminds us of the importance of the Astronomy and of the problems of stratication in society: The contemplation of so great a variety of objects necessarily exercises their minds in endless comparisons and combinations, and renders their understandings, in an extraordinary degree, both acute and comprehensive. Unless those few, however, happen to be placed in some very particular situations, their great abilities, though honourable to themselves, may contribute very little to the good government or happiness of their society. Notwithstanding the great abilities of those few, all the nobler parts of the human character may be, in a great measure, obliterated and extinguished in the great body of the people. (V.i.f.51) Smiths belief that the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people (V.i.f.50) might suffer a kind of mental mutilation led him directly to the discussion of education. To some extent he argued that market forces had proved themselves capable of the effective provision of this service, especially with regard to the education of women (V.i.f.47), and he also noted that it was the absence of such pressures which had enabled the ancient universities to become the sanctuaries in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices had found support and protection (V.i.f.34). Yet at the same time, he did not believe that the public could rely on the market, not least because the lower orders could scarce afford to maintain their children even in infancy, and he went on to note, with regard to the children of the relatively poor, that As soon as they are able to work, they must apply to some trade by which they can earn their subsistence (V.i.f.53). Smith therefore advocated the provision of parish schools on the Scottish model wherein the young could be taught to read and to acquire the rudiments of geometry and mechanicsprovided of course that their masters were partly, but not wholly paid by the publick (V.i.f.55). Smith even went so far as to suggest that the public should impose upon almost the whole body of the people the necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education, by obliging every man to undergo an examination or probation in them before he can obtain the freedom in any corporation, or be allowed to set up any trade (V.i.f.57). Smith also advocated that the better off, despite their superior (economic) advantages in acquiring education, should be required to attain a rather higher standard of knowledge by instituting some sort of probation, even in the higher and more difcult sciences, to be undergone by every person before he was permitted to exercise
166

any liberal profession, or before he could be received as a candidate for any honourable ofce of trust or prot (V.i.g.14). Such policies were defended on the ground of benet to the individual, but also for more practical reasons. The labourer armed with a knowledge of the rudiments of geometry and mechanics was likely to be better placed to perform his tasks effectively and to continue to see how they could be improved. Similarly, Smith suggested that an educated people would be better placed to see through the interested claims of faction and sedition, while in addition an instructed and intelligent people . . . are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one. Such a people, he continued (in a strain which reminds us of the importance of the earlier discussion of political obligation) are also more likely to obtain the respect of their lawful superiors and to reciprocate that respect. He concluded: In free countries, where the safety of government depends very much upon the favourable judgment which the people may form of its conduct, it must surely be of the highest importance that they should not be disposed to judge rashly or capriciously concerning it. (V.i.f.61) In this way Smith granted the state an important cultural purpose and at the same time introduced a signicant qualication to the optimistic thesis with which he is often associatedboth with regard to the efcacy of market forces and the benets of economic growth.

The Institutional Relevance of the WN


The attractions of Smiths system, and of an analysis which stretched even beyond the WN to encompass his other works, was quickly recognized by contemporaries. A stream of tributes found their way to Smith. Hugh Blair, the erstwhile Minister of the High Kirk of Edinburgh and later Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University wrote: I am Convinced that since Montesquieus Esprit des Lois, Europe has not received any Publication which tends so much to Enlarge & Rectify the ideas of mankind. Your Arrangement is excellent. One chapter paves the way for another; and your System gradually erects itself. Nothing was ever better suited than your Style is to the Subject; clear & distinct to the last degree, full without being too much so, and as tercly as the Subject could admit. Dry as some of the Subjects are, It carried me along.20 William Robertson was more to the point: You have formed into a regular and consistent system one of the most intricate and important parts of political science.21 In similar vein Joseph Black commended Smith for providing . . . a comprehensive System composed with such just & liberal Sentiments.22 Lastly, some eighteen months later Edward Gibbon described the WN as the most profound and systematic treatise on the great objects of trade and revenue which had ever been published in any age or in any Country.23

167

Unstinted admiration of Smiths system was accompanied by a fear, not always clearly expressed, that the work might not prove to have an immediate appeal, a fear based on an appreciation that the WN is not a simple but a difcult and involved book. With some feeling Hugh Blair pled for an index and a Syllabus of the whole, because, You travel thro a great Variety of Subjects. One has frequently occasion to reect & look back. (Letter 151.) David Hume looked forward to a day which he, within months of his death, was not to see, when the book would be popular, but he was less sanguine about its immediate prospects: . . . the Reading of it necessarily requires so much Attention, and the Public is disposed to give so little, that I shall still doubt for some time of its being at rst very popular: But it has Depth and Solidity and Acuteness, and it is so much illustrated by curious Facts, that it must at last take the public Attention.24 A week later Hume offered a comparison with Gibbons Decline and Fall to William Strahan, the publisher of both, a comparison not altogether in favour of the WN: Dr Smiths Performance is another excellent Work that has come from your Press this Winter; but I have ventured to tell him, that it requires too much thought to be as popular as Mr Gibbons.25 Even on publication, there were signs that Hume was unduly pessimistic. In his reply Strahan, while concurring with Humes comparison, admitted that the sales of the WN though not near so rapid, has been more than I could have expected from a work that requires much thought and reection.26 Adam Fergusons more optimistic predictions were nearer the mark: You are not to expect the run of a novel, nor even of a true history; but you may venture to assure your booksellers of a steady and continual sale, as long as people wish for information on these subjects.27 In the event the fears of lack of immediate success were illfounded. The rst edition of the WN, published on 9 March 1776, was sold out in six months. On 13 November 1776 Smith wrote to William Strahan acknowledging payment of a sum of 300, the balance of money due to him for the rst edition, and proposed that the second edition be printed at your [Strahans] expense, and that we should divide the prots.28 Strahan agreed and the second edition appeared early in 1778. Only minor amendments, though many of them, distinguished it from the rst; but the third edition, published late in 1784, had such substantial additions that they were also published separately for the benet of those who had purchased the earlier editions, under the title Additions and Corrections to the First and Second Editions of Dr Adam Smiths Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The most notable changes were the introduction of Book IV, chapter viii (Conclusion of the Mercentile System); Book V, chapter i.e. (Of the Public Works and Institutions which are necessary for facilitating particular Branches of Commerce); passages on drawbacks (IV.iv.311), on the corn bounty (IV.v.89), on the herring bounty (IV.v.2837) and the Appendix; and, particularly signicant in view of Hugh Blairs early plea, the rst index. The fourth edition of 1786 and the fth of 1789, the last in Smiths lifetime, had only minor alterations. The English editions were not the only ones to appear in Smiths lifetime; by 1790 the book had been, or was being published in French, German, Danish and Italian. The WN did not suffer the fate which befell the previous great treatise on economics, Sir James Steuarts Principles of Political Oeconomy, published only nine years earlier in 1767. Its success,

168

judged even merely by its level of sales and the ve editions in Smiths lifetime, hardly accorded with some of the fears for the books popularity which tinged the otherwise unbounded admiration of Smiths friends. In welcoming the WN the members of Smiths intellectual circle faced a dilemma. They were attracted by the WN as the crown of Smiths system, but they feared that great achievement would not, perhaps even could not, be generally and immediately appreciated. There was, however, another side to the WN, a more pragmatic, down to earth side, which gave the work a practical relevance in the eyes of many to whom the intellectual system was perhaps a mystery or merely irrelevant. Smiths friends did not always recognize that his proper attention to facts, even to Humes curious facts, was to prove an immediate source of attraction. Having gained attention in this way, Smith then commanded respect because the practical conclusions which followed from the chief elements of his system were evidently related to the economic problems of the middle of the eighteenth century. These practical conclusions may be demonstrated by casting leading elements in Smiths system in the form of a series of practical prescriptions for economic growth. When the prescriptions are compared with the historical situation in Britain in the mideighteenth century, their immediate relevance is apparent. The various categories of Smiths system had thus an institutional content or background derived from the experience of his day, which many admired and followed even when the system and its categories remained difcult for them to understand. The division of labour remained central to this institutional analysis. Even when Smith recognized the theoretical possibility of the operation of other factorsan increased labour force or mechanizationthe division of labour remained in practice the fundamental cause of economic growth. The emphasis is clear in Book II where, as has already been pointed out (p. 30), economic dynamics begins to overshadow economic statics, specically in II.iii.32: The annual produce of the land and labour of any nation can be increased in its value by no other means, but by increasing either the number of its productive labourers, or the productive powers of those labourers who had before been employed. The number of its productive labourers, it is evident, can never be much increased, but in consequence of an increase of capital, or of the funds destined for maintaining them. The productive powers of the same number of labourers cannot be increased, but in consequence either of some addition and improvement to those machines and instruments which facilitate and abridge labour; or of a more proper division and distribution of employment. In either case an additional capital is almost always required. It is by means of an additional capital only that the undertaker of any work can either provide his workmen with better machinery, or make a more proper distribution of employment among them. Given that the division of labour remained the key to economic growth its full effectiveness was limited by an inadequate expansion of the market and by an inadequate supply of capital. An inadequate supply of capital also limited the effectiveness of those other inuencesincreased quantity of labour and mechanizationwhich Smith recognized as theoretical, if not

169

practical causes of economic expansion. The distinction between productive and unproductive labour had led to the conclusion that growth of capital depended on the most extensive use of funds in the employment of productive labour. Smith then developed his system to determine those elds where productive labour was most effectively employed and the conclusions, derived in this way from his analytical framework, had highly institutional implications, for they indicated the areas where growth was to be welcomed and encouraged. That was guidance for the practical man.29 Three propositions from II.v make the order of preference clear: No equal capital puts into motion a greater quantity of productive labour than that of the farmer. (12) After agriculture, the capital employed in manufactures puts into motion the greatest quantity of productive labour, and adds the greatest value to the annual produce. That which is employed in the trade of exportation, has the least effect of any of the three. (19) The capital, therefore, employed in the hometrade of any country will generally give encouragement and support to a greater quantity of productive labour in that country, and increase the value of its annual produce more than an equal capital employed in the foreign trade of consumption: and the capital employed in this latter trade has in both these respects a still greater advantage over an equal capital employed in the carrying trade. (31) Such were the practical conclusions to which the theory led and, since the desirable allocation was to be achieved through the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the implication was obvious: government intervention had to be restrained, especially when it was possible to demonstrate, as in Book IV, that intervention was usually exercised on behalf of those vested interests which perverted the natural course of opulence. Well might Hugh Blair exclaim: You have done great Service to the World by overturning all that interested Sophistry of Merchants, with which they had Confounded the whole Subject of Commerce. Your work ought to be, and I am persuaded will in some degree become, the Commercial Code of Nations. (Letter 151) Even a cursory survey of the major economic characteristics of Britain in the eighteenth century conrms the contemporary relevance of Smiths emphases. He advocated for example the desirability of encouraging agriculture because of the superior productivity of capital invested in it. To the practical man, whether he appreciated the full logic of Smiths analysis or not, the advocacy struck a responsive chord, since the main source of economic advance in Britain in the mideighteenth century lay in agriculture. Of that no one was unaware. Poor harvests and high prices beneted no one, obviously not industrial workers, and not the majority of farmers. Only a few specialist grain growers expected to reap the prots of scarcity and any potential gain was frequently eroded by the prohibitions on the use of grain for purposes other than the making of bread in times of scarcity and, more dramatically, by the activities of bread rioters. Hence a modern historian has described the period as one when the coming of dearth was sufcient in

170

itself to halt, or reverse, an upward movement of activity.30 This restraint on increasing wealth was at last being tackled in the eighteenth century. Contemporaries, as well as later historians, disputed the signicance and effectiveness of the specic agricultural improvements which brought the change to fruition, but, even when the method was disputed, the end was plain. The ageold spectre of famine was removed for the rst time, and secure economic advance was possible. That was a dramatic change from the experience of many other countries. A similar sympathetic response followed Smiths evaluation of the form and function of trade. Agriculture and commerce were the twin props of the economy in the eyes of many contemporaries and Smiths extensive treatment of the latter reected its domination of economic thought and practice. More strikingly still, the pattern of foreign trade in the eighteenth century was changing and so drew attention to the relevance of Smiths attempt to assess the comparative contributions to economic growth of the different forms of trade. The relevance of the analysis is evident in the changes in the pattern of both commodities and markets. Woollen exports had long been the traditional staple, particularly to European markets, which at the beginning of the eighteenth century took over 90 per cent of the woollen goods exported. Thereafter, though Spain and Portugal were taking more, other European countries were taking less; the future lay less with Europe than in the past. Later in the eighteenth century cotton assumed the role of leading export which wool had once held, but it was dependent on nonEuropean markets. Between the two phases of domination by two different textile industries the buoyant trading sector lay in reexports, which had not been of great signicance until the second half of the seventeenth century, but by the beginning of the eighteenth century reexports were equal to half the level of domestic exports. Sugar, tobacco, Indian calicos were the leading commodities, and their buoyancy reected an economy which gained from a commerce based more on Britains trading links than on the sale of domestic production overseas, an economy in which it was impossible to deny the paramount position, for good or ill, of overseas trade, and especially of the carrying trade. Nowhere in Britain was that situation more evident than in the economic structure of Glasgow in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. The foreign trade of Scotland had been turning from the continent of Europe to the New World even before the parliamentary union of 1707 conrmed the move, and the protection afforded by the Navigation Acts provided a rm and unfettered basis for Glasgows success as an entrepot in the tobacco trade. Hence to read the practical discussion in Book IV of the WN, whether to accept or to reject its conclusions, was to read an account highly relevant to the contemporary economic scene. The Book discusses the stuff of which contemporary economic policy was made. Though the problems of agriculture and of commerce were the economic issues which dominated the mind of the practical man of the eighteenth century, industrial production was increasing, and, when Smith wrote, its increase was bringing to an end a period of stability in the relative contributions to the national product of agriculture, manufacturing and commerce. Smiths emphasis on the growth, but not on the existing domination, of manufacturing industry, and particularly his exposition of the division of labour as the prime agent of change, accorded with contemporary experience. The increased industrial output was associated with a decline in

171

the relative importance of the woollen industry and a marked growth in the relative contribution of metal manufactures, reecting increased division of labour in small units and not the emergence of the larger and more modern units of industrial organisation which are associated with substantial capital formation and with jointstock enterprise. The day of largescale capital formation and extensive jointstock enterprise came years after Smith. Though the problems of the industrial sector did not loom large in the minds of many contemporaries, when they did, they assumed the forms which Smith enunciated. The increasing capital intensity of production, and of its concentration, which was to begin with the appearance of the cotton industry, were yet to be, and the absence of any signicant analysis of that sector in the WN should be cited less as a matter of regret and criticism and more as an indication of Smiths awareness of those aspects of the contemporary industrial scene which were of concern at the time he wrote. The WN succeeded not only because its institutional emphasis made it thus so evidently, as Blair wrote, a publication for the present time but also because it contained a stirring message. Its plea for liberty accorded with the intellectual presuppositions of the eighteenth century. The plea for liberty in the WN is a vital factor explaining the different reception accorded to Steuart and Smith within a decade of each other. Steuart may have suffered from additional handicaps. Apart from his personal handicap of Jacobitism, his work appealed less powerfully to the intellects of the eighteenth century, and above all Steuarts support for government intervention placed him in a different camp from Smith, and in one which was not popular among the increasingly inuential elements in contemporary society.31 Smith provided a system with categories and elements which remain valid as parts of his analytical framework, but their institutional content, so pertinent to economic conditions in Britain in the eighteenth century, that it helped ensure the success of the WN, limits the acceptability and applicability of the system in other places and at other times. Whatever the intellectual attractiveness of Smiths writing on the continent of Europe, it was frequently institutionally irrelevant there when it was rst published. For example, in contrast with Britain, ancient mercantilist and agrarian restrictions were acceptable on the continent. In Germany local monopolistic guilds still dominated economic life, and the advocacy of the new degree of economic freedom requisite for new forms of economic enterprise was not acceptable. Palyi suggests that the surprising aspect of the WNs reception in Germany was not that it was not readily received, but that the resistance against the WN did not last longer than some twenty years and did not take a more active form. 32 In France, again as Palyi points out, the situation was confused because of the inuence of the physiocrats. Smith gave sufcient recognition to the physiocratic point of view to lend some support to its claims, and that support was especially helpful since the acceptability of their doctrines was waning, partly because of the antagonism the physiocrats had engendered from the new and rising industrial groups, whose dislike of physiocracy grew from the support it provided to the large landowners. That confusion inuenced the reception accorded to the WN. Attempts to apply the WN to societies more advanced than Britain on the eve of the industrial revolution encounter similar, or even greater problems. The difculty of doing so is demonstrated by contrasting Smiths emphasis on the division of labour as the central cause of eco-

172

nomic growth and his neglect of other factors, such as increases in the supply of labour, particularly through the growth of population, and improvements in the productivity of labour through mechanization. Smith recognized that an increase in the labour force led to an increase in output, but he did not envisage unemployed labour resources being brought into use, and any increase in the supply of labour was likely to be a longrun consequence of an expansion of the national product. The demand for those who live by wages, therefore, necessarily increases with the increase of the revenue and stock of every country, and cannot possibly increase without it. The increase of revenue and stock is the increase of national wealth. The demand for those who live by wages, therefore, naturally increases with the increase of national wealth, and cannot possibly increase without it. (I.viii.21) Increasing population, whether a cause of economic growth, or as something to fear, was not highlighted. That may seem surprising. Others, among them Sir James Steuart, feared over population, but it was possible to be as optimistic about the future in the mideighteenth century as at any time. The spectre of famine and of some diseases had been removed; the sharp rise in population and the problems of its concentration were yet to be. Hence it was easy to conceive the problem of economic growth as one of utilizing the labour force in ways which would most effectively meet the opportunities offered by the expansion of the market, either by improvements in the division of labour or by mechanization. Of the two possibilities Smith, with his analysis rmly rooted in the institutional structure of his day, stressed the former. Mechanization was recognizedas in his discussion of the steam enginebut it was conceived as a process accompanying the division of labour. The owner of the stock which employs a great number of labourers, necessarily endeavours, for his own advantage, to make such a proper division and distribution of employment, that they may be enabled to produce the greatest quantity of work possible. For the same reason, he endeavours to supply them with the best machinery which either he or they can think of. (I.viii.57) In consequence of better machinery, of greater dexterity, and of a more proper division and distribution of work, all of which are the natural effects of improvement, a much smaller quantity of labour becomes requisite for executing any particular piece of work. . . (I.xi.o.1) Not only are the division of labour and mechanization closely interwoven, but invention itself was in Smiths opinion originally owing to the division of labour (I.i.8).33 Innovation is no more central to the analysis. Projectors pass through the pages of the WN, frequently to be dismissed as detrimental rather than helpful to economic growth. In spite of his stress on psychological propensities in other parts of his work, Smith did not extend his analysis in a serious way to evaluate the qualities which determined the ability to innovate successfully. The dominance of the division of labour, and the comparative neglect of other categories in the analysis, notably mechanization, is, of course, a reection of the institutional relevance of the WN to the British economy in the mideighteenth century. The penalty paid was the opening of
173

a penetrating line of criticism for those who wished to stress Smiths comparative neglect of the other and ultimately more powerful agent of economic growth. Into that context can be placed the criticism of Lauderdale, who, though not distinguishing between capital and entrepreneurship, was anxious to remedy Smiths alleged failure to make adequate allowance for differences in knowledge and ability in different countries. Rae suggested even more forcefully that invention held the key to explaining the greater productivity of capital in some societies than in others. Smiths admirer, J. B. Say, developed the idea of entrepreneurship as a very special form of labour. Later Schumpeter placed the entrepreneur and his innovating ability at the heart of an explanation of economic growth. Lauderdale, Rae, Say, Schumpeter belong to later generations, which, unlike Smiths, had witnessed the effect of mechanization on industrial output. Smith was writing even before the largescale application of mechanization to cottonspinning. Hence, just as the WN did not seem so relevant to societies other than Britain in the later eighteenth century, so the institutional content of the WN was not applicable to the industrial state which Britain was beginning to be. Nevertheless, discussion of Smiths institutional relevance can become almost pointless if it tries to prove either that Smith anticipated modern industrialization, or if it spends much time proving that he did not. Any evaluation must start from the obvious fact that Smiths thought was formulated in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, and that many of his ideas had been formulated as early as the 1760s. To search the WN for examples of the institutional structure which was to emerge later in a more advanced industrial economy is to search for qualities which it cannot possess except fortuitously. The attraction of the WN was not that it was a tourists guide to the subsequent course of industrialization, but that it had a command of the institutional structure of the time, sufciently convincing to demonstrate its contemporary relevance. The institutional features of the WN which date it also helped towards its immediate success. The modern reader may recognize the systematic analysis as the great intellectual achievement of the treatise and qualify the validity of Smiths views on public policy, or even adopt the extreme interpretation of dismissing them as totally irrelevant. No contemporary could have entertained such a view; obviously misleading or erroneous comments on the public policy of the age, or, worse still, irrelevant comments, would have detracted from the intellectual achievement in their eyes. The acceptance of the WN by contemporaries rested on its apparent relevance to the affairs of everyday life as much as on its systematic analysis. It became the authority to quote as much in public discussion as in parliamentary debate. But that was not all. Smiths relevance to his day and age insured such immediate acceptance for the WN that, even when its popularity as a guide to policy was waning, and was ultimately rejected, the work was so well established, and so generally established, that it was never neglected, and the systematic analysis was then recognized for the massive intellectual achievement which it is.

174

Smiths use of History


If Smith achieved the unusual distinction of being a prophet with honour in his own country, he did so partly because his work was rmly rooted in a historical situation. The WN may, therefore, be used as a historical source, in at least two distinctive senses. Since Smith frequently wrote as a historiansometimes deliberately, sometimes otherwisehe may be judged accordingly by the common criteria of historical scholarship. In addition, Smiths account of events in the later eighteenth century may be assessed for its reliability as the report of a contemporary observer. In neither case is an account of Smiths writing a straightforward and uncomplicated matter. Just as anyone using Smith to illuminate later economic thought must make full allowance for the limitations of his institutional background on the general applicability of his theories, so those who use the WN as a historical source in whatever sense must make even greater allowances. In the former case the deciencies are inevitable, as Smith could not have envisaged changes which were yet to be; in the latter case the omissions may even be deliberate and so misleading, especially if they are not obvious. As always, Smiths desire to devise a major intellectual system determined the use he made of historical and factual material. No one of his intellectual eminence would distort the facts, even if only because refutation would thus have been innitely easier, but, even when facts were not distorted, they may still have been used in such a subordinate and supporting role to the dominating systematic model that their use for any other purpose needs qualication. If parts of the WN are to be judged as straightforward pieces of historical writing, it is necessary to distinguish the different ways in which Smith wrote as a historian. When he wrote as an orthodox historian, he tried to assemble the best documentary and factual evidence for his case; when he wrote as a philosopher of history, he tried to distil an ideal interpretation of an historical process ostensibly from the facts he had accumulated. Smith, as any orthodox historian, may be assessed by a review of his sources and his use of them. Their variety is striking, whether the impression be derived from those quoted in the WN itself, from the resources in Smiths personal library, or from the accounts of the Library at Glasgow when he controlled its expenditure. The break with the tradition of Christian authority is obvious; even historical parts of the Bible and its apparent relevance to the discussion of a nomadic life are virtually ignored, with only the most incidental of references to the Old Testament. By contrast, the classical tradition dominates and supplies many illustrations of early times. Given the inevitable paucity of source material for an account of an earlier age, and yet given the necessity of formulating such an account as part of an essential background to the dynamic historical evolution which he was seeking, Smithin common with others who adopted his approachwas forced to use another group of source materials: the travellers tales and accounts of contemporary societies which were at a much earlier and much more primitive stage of social evolution. Travellers tales bulk large in what is generally regarded as Smiths historical writing, taking pride of place even over the classical references. To a more orthodox historian the extensive use of travellers tales is even more suspect than the use of classical writers, whose work can at least be subjected to a more critical appraisal of their reliability. Travellers tales, especially in

175

an age when they were frequently rare, even unique, accounts of far off places, could not easily be conrmed or refuted, and so the travellers tended to highlight the unusual and the bizarre. A warning of Francis Hutcheson could well be taken to heart: The Entertainment therefore in these ingenious Studys consists chiey in exciting Horror, and making Men stare . . . What is most surprizing in these Studys, is the wondrous Credulity of some Gentlemen of great Pretentions in other Matters to Caution of Assent, for these marvellous Memoirs of Monks, Friars, SeaCaptains, Pirates; and for the Historys, Annals, Chronologys, received by oral Tradition, or Hieroglyphicks.34 Smith was not more culpable than many of his contemporaries in his use of such material. He was certainly less guilty than some others of falling into the trap against which Hutcheson warned, for he did not accept all his sources uncritically. Trade statistics were held perceptively and authoritatively to be unreliable: Heavy duties being imposed upon almost all goods imported, our merchant importers smuggle as much, and make entry of as little as they can. Our merchant exporters, on the contrary, make entry of more than they export; sometimes out of vanity, and to pass for great dealers in goods which pay no duty; and sometimes to gain a bounty or a drawback. Our exports, in consequence of these different frauds, appear upon the customhouse books greatly to overbalance our imports; to the unspeakable comfort of those politicians who measure the national prosperity by what they call the balance of trade. (V.ii.k.29) Hence it is not surprising that Smith, though ready to endorse Gregory Kings skill in political arithmetic (I.viii.34), and willing to quote the calculations of Charles Smith on the corn trade (I.xi.g.18), had to admit that he himself had no great faith in political arithmetick (IV.v.b.30). Quantitative sources were not the only ones treated with some reserve. After all the wonderful tales which have been published concerning the splendid state of those countries [Mexico and Peru] in antient times, whoever reads, with any degree of sober judgment, the history of their rst discovery and conquest, will evidently discern that, in arts, agriculture, and commerce, their inhabitants were much more ignorant than the Tartars of the Ukraine are at present. (I.xi.g.26) Yet sometimes Smiths use of a source is less critical than it should be, especially when the source conrms an argument he is developing from other and more general, often speculative sources, so that the orthodox historian thus becomes the supporter of the philosophic historian. Instances range from the trivial to the substantial. At the most trivial level Smiths faults represent merely different standards of transcription between the eighteenth century and the present day. At times he seems to quote from memory, as when his quotations are not quite verbatim, or when he attributes a view to a source which it does not quite support, as for example, in his use of the works of Juan and Ulloa and of Frzier to support his condemnation of the mining of precious metals in the New World (I.xi.c.268). More serious still, in his use of statutes Smith falls into the error, not unique among historians, of failing to distinguish between the intention of the statute and the manner and extent of its implementation. The error is surprising in Smiths case, be176

cause his experience at least after his appointment as Commissioner of Customs in 1778, enabled him to observe the gulf which could be xed between intention and implementation in the case of some statutes, as in various attempts to suppress smuggling, and even more important because he himself sometimes provided the material for drawing such a distinction, as in his discussion of the laws relating to apprenticeship. A more serious example is his discussion of the settlement provisions of the poor law. In both cases Smith objected because of interference with the liberty he considered essential for the effective allocation of resources (above, 37). After castigating the generally restrictive effect of the Statute of Apprentices Smith proceeded to recognize the limitations on its application: to market towns and not in the country (I.x.c.8); to those trades which were established when the Act was passed and not to those which appeared subsequently, excludingon Smiths own admissionthe manufactures of Manchester, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, or at least many of them (I.x.c.9); and nally, not to soldiers and seamen who, when discharged from the kings service, are at liberty to exercise any trade, within any town or place of Great Britain or Ireland (IV.ii.42). Smiths failure to make adequate allowance for the qualications to the law of settlement is more serious. Smith objected to the legal restraints imposed on the right to obtain a settlement in a parish, with its entitlement to poor relief, as part of his general objection to articial restraints on the free mobility of labour. He made his objection forcefully: There is scarce a poor man in England of forty years of age . . . who has not in some part of his life felt himself most cruelly oppressed by this illcontrived law of settlements. (I.x.c.59) The reasons had been as sweepingly advanced in the previous paragraph: . . . in England, where it is often more difcult for a poor man to pass the articial boundary of a parish, than an arm of the sea or a ridge of high mountains, natural boundaries which sometimes separate very distinctly different rates of wages in other countries. (I.x.c.58) In addition Smith contrasted conditions in Scotland with those in England, alleging that in England the law of settlement ensured that The scarcity of hands in one parish . . . cannot always be relieved by their superabundance in another, as it is constantly in Scotland (I.x.c.58). Once again Smith himself provided qualications which should have led to the enunciation of his proposition in more moderate terms. He recognized the major mitigation of the restraints on the mobility of labour which followed the introduction of certicates, whereby a parish accepted liability for a potential pauper, though he promptly cast doubt on the effectiveness of the measure by commenting rather cynically, after quoting from a passage in Richard Burns Justice of the Peace, that certicates ought always to be required by the parish where any poor man comes to reside, and that they ought very seldom to be granted by that which he proposes to leave (I.x.c.56). Smith also provided a general explanation of differences of wage rates between Scotland and England; one dependent not on their different laws of settlement but on differences between their rates of development and between the levels of subsistence in the two countries (I.viii.334).

177

Other evidence reinforces the doubts Smith raises himself. Removals of potential paupers in England were probably less frequent than he implies, otherwise it is difcult to understand how the new developing areas ever obtained the labour force they required; in Scotland paupers were sometimes forcefully removed, though less frequently than in England. The issue was one of contemporary importance, and could have been investigated by a detailed examination of parochial administration, but of such investigation there is no evidence in the WN, so that in these matters Smith did not have knowledge comparable to that which he had about customs procedure, even before his appointment as a commissioner, and which enabled him to be more critical of evidence in that eld. In his discussion of both the laws of apprenticeship and settlement Smith provides evidence which damages his own case against the restrictive legislation, and provides indications that investigations which might have been undertaken to conrm his case or otherwise were not carried out. The general principles, the opposition to restrictions damaging to the free allocation of resources, were held so strongly that there seemed no case to answer. Criticism of Smiths use of sources becomes truly damaging only if he read into a source more serious evidence in support of a proposition than he was entitled to do. Even that criticism must not be pushed too far. All historians must choose the facts they judge relevant to their argument, and so their discussion is forced in one direction or another. Hence a signicant distinction between the approaches of Smith and of orthodox historians can be drawn only if Smiths choice of evidence strayed beyond the limits set by human frailty in determining degrees of relevance towards a demonstrable distortion of historical evidence, whether deliberate or not. Then, even if Smiths use of his sources meets the requirements of the most rened critical apparatus of textual criticism, he would stand condemned by orthodox historians for his unacceptable choice of evidence. Any such distinction, or even gulf, between the approaches of Smith and of orthodox historians appears only when Smith writes as a speculative or philosophical as well as an orthodox historian, and so a fundamental issue in any appreciation of the WN lies in determining how Smith deals with any tensions which emerge between the two approaches. Each strand of his historical reasoning, the orthodox and the speculative, is a logical entity, and each, if examined and judged by its own standards, is internally consistent. Problems emerge only when attempts are made to integrate the two in order to eliminate the tensions which seem to emerge between them. Smith does not recognize the tensions, he was probably unaware of them, because his grand design of a comprehensive system dominates every other approach. Yet tension between the two approaches appears at central parts of his analysis, most signicantly in Book III, where the historical evidence is, of course, embedded at the centre of the exposition, not merely providing a peripheral part of the reasoning. The philosophical historian states unequivocally the course of the natural progress of opulence: According to the natural course of things, therefore, the greater part of the capital of every growing society is, rst, directed to agriculture, afterwards to manufactures, and last of all to foreign commerce. This order of things is so very natural, that in

178

every society that had any territory, it has always, I believe, been in some degree observed. (III.i.8) In the next paragraph the orthodox historian upsets the natural progress: though this natural order of things must have taken place in some degree in every such society, it has, in all the modern states of Europe, been, in many respects, entirely inverted. The foreign commerce of some of their cities has introduced all their ner manufactures, or such as were t for distant sale; and manufactures and foreign commerce together, have given birth to the principal improvements of agriculture. (III.i.9) The last sentence of the chapter provides both an explanation and an accusation: The manners and customs which the nature of their original government introduced, and which remained after that government was greatly altered, necessarily forced them into this unnatural and retrograde order. (III.i.9) The three chapters which follow, to make up the shortest Book in the WN, then proceed to expound an orthodox historical progress of opulence in a way which differs from that outlined in the natural progress, of how, for example in III.iv, the commerce of the towns contributed to the improvement of the country. This distinction between the speculative historical progress of opulence and the orthodox historical progress is the prime example of the tensions involved in the use of the WN as a historical source. Yet allegations of tension, of an uneasy relationship and even of contradictions between the two strands of thought, are evident only when Smith is judged by standards, and by a methodology, which he would not have accepted. Smiths objective was to delineate an ideal account of historical evolution, which did not need to conform to any actual historical situation, so historical evidence, while playing a central part in his thought, was supplementary evidence of secondary importance. If historical facts indicated a divergence from the ideal explanation, then Smith felt obliged to offer explanations of the divergence. He worked from the system to the facts not from the facts to the system, and in that context his protestation that he had no great faith in political arithmetic is signicant. If the historian or the political arithmetician demonstrated the divergence from the ideal that, for instance, the progress of opulence was from the town to the country and not the reverse, the interesting problem then lay in determining the reasons for the divergencein the present example it lay in unwise and undesirable intervention from the government. H. T. Buckle, though given to overstating his case, made a vital point, and in a lively style: Adam Smith . . .very properly rejected [statistical facts] as the basis of his science, and merely used them by way of illustration, when he could select what he liked. The same remark applies to other facts which he drew from the history of trade, and, indeed, from the general history of society. All of these are essentially subsequent to the argument. They make the argument more clear, but not more certain. For, it is no exaggeration to say, that, if all the commercial and historical facts in the Wealth of Na179

tions were false, the book would still remain, and its conclusions would hold equally good, though they would be less attractive.35 Any tension between the speculative, or systematic, and the orthodox strands of Smiths thought is potentially even more misleading when the systematic thought is contrasted with, or used to illuminate aspects of contemporary policy. Then Smiths comments on the happenings of his time in the eighteenth century may be so coloured by his speculative approach that his accounts and views may have to be treated with some reserve and not used as reliable source material for historical studies of the period. It was suggested earlier that the conclusion of greatest practical signicance in Smiths analysis for the eighteenth century lay in his ordering of the productive use of capital, as in II.v.19: rst, in agriculture; then in manufactures; last in the trade of exportation. In the subsequent evaluation of the wholesale trade, the very practical conclusion was stated unequivocally: . . . the great object of the political oeconomy of every country, is to encrease the riches and power of that country. It ought, therefore, to give no preference nor superior encouragement to the foreign trade of consumption above the hometrade, nor to the carrying trade above either of the other two. (II.v.31) Just as Smiths orthodox historical work sometimes qualied the use that may be made of his speculative history, so his orthodox empirical studies cast doubt on some of the recommendations on contemporary policy derived directly from his analytical system. Examples can be given at both ends of his proposition concerning the desirable deployment of resources, from his comment on agriculture and on the colonial trade. In proportion as a greater share of [capital] is employed in agriculture, the greater will be the quantity of productive labour which it puts into motion within the country. (II.v.19.) It was suggested above (p. 45) that the prospects for economic growth in Britain in the eighteenth century were greatest in agriculture, and Smith provides empirical evidence of the progress already made in that eld in his own day and of further possible lines of progress, as, for example, in an accurate and perceptive account of the expansion of the Scottish cattle trade (I.xi.l.23). But another part of Smiths system, and the empirical content he gave to its operation in agriculture, casts doubt on the preeminence given to agriculture in economic progress. He asserts from empirical evidence that the division of labour, the great agent of change, is least applicable in agriculture (I.i.4). Once again the different strands of the argument are logically valid, but the relationship between the two is uneasy and unclear, and so too is the use which may be made of the evidence as reecting economic conditions in the eighteenth century. Smiths treatment of the colonial trade is even more signicant, because it looms large in the WN and in contemporary discussion. Given his general analysis it is not surprising that Smith condemns the tobacco trade as an example of how undesirable government intervention had turned trade from a direction in which it would have maintained a greater quantity of productive labour, into one, in which it can maintain a much smaller quantity and had rendered the whole state of that industry and commerce more precarious and less secure, than if their produce had been accommodated to a greater variety of markets. (IV.vii.c.46 and 40.) It has already been
180

suggested (p. 46) that Smiths account of the carrying trade, both of its dependence on current commercial policy and of its effect on the domestic economy, would have been recognized by his contemporaries as a realistic survey of the conditions of the time. The growth of reexports, and the tobacco trades domination, especially in Glasgow, owed much to the Navigation Acts, and the effect on the domestic economy was so limited that it is even possible to suggest that there existed two separate economies, each with its rate and extent of growth determined by different factors. But, once again, the WN itself provides the qualications to the practical conclusion derived from the systematic analysis. To begin with, it is not clear that commercial legislation was the critical cause of the growth of the colonial trade in general, and the tobacco trade in particular. There are no colonies of which the progress has been more rapid than that of the English in North America (IV.vii.b.15), because Plenty of good land, and liberty to manage their own affairs their own way, seem to be the two great causes of the prosperity of all new colonies (IV.vii.b.16). Even the exact inuence of the monopoly is unclear: it raises the rate of mercantile prot, and therefore augments somewhat the gains of our merchants, but it also hinders the sum of prot from rising so high as it otherwise would do (IV.vii.c.59). To determine the overall effect of the monopolistic restrictions, Smith is admitting in effect the necessity of a nice calculation of gain and loss. In the longrun even more necessary for that purpose is an evaluation of the use to which any prot is put: a smaller prot in the hands of those who use it in ways deemed appropriate may promote economic growth more rapidly than a larger prot in the hands of those who use it differently. Of that problem Smith was aware: If the prodigality of some was not compensated by the frugality of others, the conduct of every prodigal, by feeding the idle with the bread of the industrious, tends not only to beggar himself, but to impoverish his country. (II.iii.20) Smiths distinction between the prodigal and the frugal man raises immense difculties for any attempt to use his systematic analysis as a nal commentary on the effect of the colonial trade. The distinction can be highlighted in Smiths own words in II.iii: The proportion between capital and revenue . . . seems every where to regulate the proportion between industry and idleness. Wherever capital predominates, industry prevails: wherever revenue, idleness. (13) Capitals are increased by parsimony, and diminished by prodigality and misconduct. (14) Parsimony, and not industry, is the immediate cause of the increase of capital. Industry, indeed, provides the subject which parsimony accumulates. But whatever industry might acquire, if parsimony did not save and store up, the capital would never be the greater. (16) Hence, whatever the limitations, derived from Smiths systematic analysis, on the benecial effects of the carrying trade, the colonial trade might still have made a major contribution to economic growth if the merchants were parsimonious and not prodigal, particularly if they then diverted their capital into agricultural enterprises at home. Smith recognized in general terms
181

what was happening. Merchants are commonly ambitious of becoming country gentlemen, and when they do, they are generally the best of all improvers (III.iv.3), certainly better than the great proprietors (III.ii.7). The experience of the eighteenth century conrms this aspect of Smiths discussion. Parsimony among the merchants, including colonial merchants, and their desire to become landed gentlemen, provided the capital which Smith recognized as essential for the exploitation of the agricultural resources of Scotland itself. The undesirability of concentration on the carrying trade which Smiths intellectual analysis demonstrated, was evidently much less in practice when a full study is made, and, once again as in the discussion of agriculture, for reasons which are embedded in the WN. The reasons are not stressed, because to do so would have required some qualication to conclusions derived from the central analysis of the desirable distribution of capital and to some of the allegedly harmful effects of the Navigation Acts. Smiths historical writing has practical implications in the use of the WN. The historical writing is meaningful only if interpreted as part of the intellectual system which the historical material was used to illustrate and support. Similarly, Smiths discussion of contemporary problems and events, which can easily be assumed to be an example of unbiased reporting, must also be integrated into his entire system. The belief in the natural progress of opulence, almost in its inevitability, is so strong throughout the WN that, when dealing with a contemporary problem, Smiths main objective is to isolate those barriers which lay in the path of natural progress as he saw it, and to advocate their speedy removal. Hence on contemporary issues his writing verges on propaganda, he uses evidence in ways which are not wholly convincing to those not committed to his system, and he presses interpretations of contemporary events to more extreme conclusions than may well be warranted. The defects of Smiths emphasis must not be stressed unduly, though they may seem to justify the suggestion that he was never noted for his consistency. Paradoxically the inconsistency was often consistent, because it rarely damaged the central analysis and was indeed usually introduced as a means of support for it. Nor can Smith easily be accused of inconsistency in the transfer of his analysis to policy, so long as his practical recommendations were conned to a general advocacy of the desirability of eliminating government intervention from many, if not from all aspects of economic life. The inconsistencies appear only in the detail. These are defects of greater consequence to those who read the WN today than to those who read the WN when it was rst published. Then the analysis, both systematic and institutional, was largely applicable in Britain, and was a major cause of the works popularity; it was excellent political propaganda and such stretching of empirical evidence as it contained was not such as could discredit the whole. The problem is for those readers of later generations who seek to use the WN as a source book of contemporary comment.

182

Endnotes
[1] History of Economic Analysis (London, 1954), 182. [2] For comment, see R. L. Meek Smith, Turgot and the Four Stages Theory in History of Political Economy, iii (1971), and his introduction to Turgot on Progress, Sociology, and Economics (Cambridge, 1973). [3] LJ (B) 149, ed. Cannan 107. The socioeconomic analysis appears chiey in Books III and V of the WN. [4] John Millar, The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks (1771), ed. W. C. Lehmann and included in his John Millar of Glasgow (Cambridge, 1960), 292. [5] It is a remarkable fact that Smiths systematic course of instruction on economic subjects closely follows the order used by his old teacher, Francis Hutcheson, in his System of Moral Philosophy (published posthumously in 1755). For Hutcheson, like Smith, begins with an account of the division of labour (II.iv) and having explained the sources of increase in skill and dexterity proceeded to emphasize the interdependence of men which results from it. Having next examined the importance for exchange of the right to the property of ones own labour (II.vi) he then considered the determinants of value, using in the course of this discussion a distinction between demand and supply price and dening the latter in terms of labour cost (II.xii). The argument then proceeds to the discussion of money as a means of exchange and the analytical work is completed with an account of the principal contracts of a social life such as interest and insurance (II.xiii). While Smiths own lectures were undoubtedly more complete, with the economic section developed as a single whole, the parallel is nonetheless worthy of note. For comment, see W. R. Scott, Francis Hutcheson (London, 1900). [6] Hume had also drawn attention to the problems of trade regulation and shown a clear grasp of the interdependence of economic phenomena. There is certainly sufcient evidence to give some force to Dugald Stewarts claim that The Political Discourses of Mr. Hume were evidently of greater use to Mr. Smith, than any other book that had appeared prior to his Lectures (Stewart, IV.24). On the other hand, it would be wrong to imply that Smith may have taken an analytical structure established by Hutcheson and grafted on to it policy views, derived from Hume, regarding the freedom of trade (views which Hutcheson did not always share). To qualify this position we have Smiths famous manifesto, dated 1755 and quoted by Dugald Stewart from a document, now lost, wherein Smith claimed some degree of originality with a good deal of honest and indignant warmth apparently in respect of his main thesis of economic liberty. In this paper, which was read before one of Glasgows literary societies, Smith rejected the common view that man could be regarded as the subject of a kind of political mechanics, and stated his belief that economic prosperity only required peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice. Such beliefs, he asserted, had all of them been the subject of lectures which I read at Edinburgh the win-

183

ter before I left it, and I can adduce innumerable witnesses, both from that place and from this, who will ascertain them sufciently to be mine. (Stewart, IV.25.) The possible links between Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith are explored in W. L. Taylor, Frances Hutcheson and David Hume as Precursors of Adam Smith (Duke, North Carolina, 1965). See also E. Rotweins valuable introduction in David Hume: Writings on Economics (London, 1955). [7] With regard to the separation of returns into wages, prots, and rent Dugald Stewart has stated that It appears from a manuscript of Mr. Smiths, now in my possession, that the foregoing analysis or division was suggested to him by Mr. Oswald of Dunnikier (Works, ix (1856), 6). It is also stated in Works x (1858) that Oswald was well known to have possessed as a Political and man of business, a taste for the more general and philosophical discussions of Political Economy. He lived in habits of great intimacy with Lord Kames and Mr. Hume, and was one of Mr. Smiths earliest and most condential friends. Memoir Note A [8] Smiths initial stay in Paris as tutor to the Duke of Buccleuch, was for a period of only ten days, so that his real contact with the French thinkers came during the second visit (December 1765 to October 1766). By this time the School was well established: the Tableau Economique had been perfected in the late 1750s, and was followed in 1763 by the appearance of the Philosophie Rurale, the rst textbook of the School and a joint production of Quesnay and Mirabeau. Smith knew both men, while in addition his own commentary on the School (WN IV.ix) shows a close knowledge of its main doctrines. It is also known from the contents of Smiths library that he had a remarkably complete collection of the main literature, including copies of the Journal de lAgriculture and a range of the Epemrides du Citoyen which includes the rst two (out of three) parts of Turgots Reections on the Formation and Distribution of Richesa work which Turgot completed in 1766 when Smith was resident in Paris. See H. Mizuta, Adam Smiths Library (Cambridge, 1967). In fact Turgot begins his account of the formation and distribution of riches in a way with which Smith would have immediately sympathized: with a discussion of the division of labour, exchange, and money, using this introductory section to conrm the importance of a prior accumulation of stock. The real advance, however, came from another source, and is the consequence of Turgots reformulation of the basic Quesnay model in such a way as to permit him to employ a distinction between entrepreneurs and wage labour in both the agrarian and manufacturing sectors. This distinction led on to another in the sense that Turgot was able to offer a clear distinction between factors of production (land, labour, capital) and to point the way towards a theory of returns which included recognition of the point that prot could be regarded as a reward for the risks involved in combining the factors of production. At the same time, Turgot introduced a number of distinctions between the different employments of capital of a kind which is very close to that later used by Smith, before going on to show that the returns in different employments were necessarily interdependent and affected by the problems of net advantage. While the account offered in the WN IV.ix of the agricultural system owes a good deal to Quesnays work, it may not be unimportant to notice that the version which Smith expounded includes an allow184

ance for wages, prot, and rent, distinctions which were not present in Quesnays original model. The most exhaustive modern commentary on the physiocrats as a school is R. L. Meeks The Economics of Physiocracy (London, 1962). This book includes translations of the main works: see also Quesnays Tableau Economique, ed. M. Kuczynski and R. L. Meek (London, 1972). The possible links between Turgot and Smith are explored by P. D. Groenewegen in Turgot and Adam Smith, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, xvi (1969). [9] The most comprehensive modern account of the content of Smiths work is by Samuel Hollander, The Economics of Adam Smith (Toronto, 1973). [10] In the WN, the division of labour was also associated with technical change, arising from: improvements made by workmen as a consequence of their experience; inventions introduced by the makers of machines, (once that has become a separate trade) and, nally, inventions introduced by philosophers whose trade it is, not to do any thing, but to observe every thing (I.i.9). Of these, Smith considered that the rst was likely to be affected adversely by the consequences of the division of labour once it had attained a certain level of development. See below, 3940. [11] See R. L. Meek and A. S. Skinner, The Development of Adam Smiths Ideas on the Division of Labour, Economic Journal, lxxxiii (1973). [12] For a particularly helpful comment on Smiths treatment of value from this point of view, see M. Blaug, Economic Theory in Retrospect (London, 1964), 4852. [13] There are perhaps four features of Smiths treatment of price which may be of particular interest to the modern reader: 1. While Smith succeeds in dening an equilibrium condition he was obviously more interested in the nature of the processes by virtue of which it was attained. Natural price thus emerged as the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating, whatever be the obstacles which prevent its actual attainment (I.vii.15). 2. Smith gives a good deal of attention to what might be called natural impediments; i.e. impediments associated with the nature of the economy (as distinct from articial obstacles which might be introduced by government action) in referring to such points as the instability of agricultural output (I.vii.17), the importance of singularity of soil or situation, spatial problems and secrets in manufacture. 3. Smiths account may be seen to suggest that before the whole system can be in equilibrium each commodity must be sold at its natural price and each factor paid in each employment at its natural rate. Any movement from this position can then be shown to involve interrelated responses in the factor and commodity markets as a result of which the trend towards equilibrium is sustained. Looked at from this point of view, Smiths argument has a dynamic aspect at least in the sense that he handles the consequences of a given change (say in demand) as a continuously
185

unfolding process. 4. The discussion of price is linked to the analysis of the economy as a system in Book II by throwing some light on the allocation of a given stock of resources amongst alternative uses. At the same time, the analysis of Book II with its suggestion of a continuous cycle of the purchase, consumption, and replacement of goods adds a further dimension to the use of time in I.vii. For an interesting modern example of a problem of this kind see W. J. Baumol, Economic Dynamics (2nd ed. New York, 1959), 67, where a time axis is added to those dealing with price and quantity. [14] While in general Smith seems to have considered that job mobility would be comparatively easy, it is evident that such movement might be difcult in cases where there is a considerable capital invested in learningthus setting up distortions in the system (which could take time to resolve themselves) even in cases where there was perfect liberty. Smith also drew attention to the problems of status and geographical mobility. Citing as evidence the considerable differentials between London, Edinburgh, and their environs, in respect even of employments of a similar kind, he concluded that man is of all sorts of luggage the most difcult to be transported (I.viii.31). [15] It may be useful to give a conjectural picture of the circular ow, by drawing some of the elements of Smiths argument together. Smiths theory of price has already established that since each commodity taken singly must comprehend payments for rent, wages, and prots, this must be true of all taken complexly (II.ii.2 and see above, p. 25 n. 13). He therefore suggests a relationship between aggregate output and income where the latter must be distributed between the three major forms of return. Taking the year as the time period within which the working of the system is to be examined, factors can be treated as stocks (as in the theory of price) whose ordinary or natural rates (i.e. natural within the framework of the year) are determined by current levels of demand and supply (a theme developed in the theory of distribution). This income can be used for the purchase of consumption goods, including services (thus generating a secondary source of income available for expenditure in the current period) or in the form of a xed or circulating capital. If we examine the system from the standpoint of the beginning of the period in question, each group will have an accumulated stock of goods intended for consumption, together with a certain xed capital representing acquired skills and useful abilities. The proprietors in addition possess a capital which is xed in the land while the entrepreneurs engaged in manufacture, agriculture, or trade, own a xed capital embodied in their machines, implements, etc. In addition, we can assume at the beginning of the period, that the undertakers and merchants have a stock of nished goods (consumption and investment goods) which are available for sale in the current period, together with raw materials and work in processall of which make up a part of the circulating capital of society. Assume also the undertakers have a certain net income available for use in the current period. If the farmers transmit rent payments to the proprietors to secure the use of a productive re186

source, this gives the latter group an income with which they can make the necessary purchases of consumption and investment goods. The undertakers in both the main sectors may then transmit to wagelabour the content of the wages fund, thus generating an income which can be used to make purchases of consumption goods from each sector. Similarly, the undertakers will make purchases from each other, thus generating a series of ows of money and goods within and between the sectorswith the whole pattern carried on by the wholesale and retail trades. As a result of the complex of transactions, the content of the circulating capital of society (as represented, in part, by the stock of all goods available for sale) is withdrawn from the market and either added to the social stock of consumption goods, or xed capital, or used to replace items which reached the end of their life during the present period, or used up within that period. On the other hand, these goods are replaced by current productive activity, so that the model taken as a whole admirably succeeds in its aim of elucidating the interconnections which exist between the parts of the machine. It is worth noting perhaps, here as in the theory of price, that the emphasis is on the processes involved, rather than on the formulation of equilibrium conditions. Indeed it would have been very difcult for Smith to formulate the conditions which would have to be met before the following period could open under identical conditions to those which obtained at the beginning of the period examined, (as for example Quesnay had done) if only because of the explicit allowance made for goods which have different lifespans and for stocks of goods which have different age structures. [16] See D. N. Winch, Classical Political Economy and the Colonies (London, 1965), chapter 2. [17] A Letter from Governor Pownall to Adam Smith, L.L.D. F.R.S. (London, 1776), 23: cf. Winch, op. cit., 89. [18] It is interesting to observe that the solitary example of the invisible hand which occurs in the WN does so in the context of the thesis concerning the natural progress of opulence. It is remarked in IV.ii.9 that: As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestick industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the publick interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestick to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. [19] Smiths concern with sectional economic pressures is to be found throughout the WN; in the discussion of the regulation of wages, for example (I.x.c.61) and in his ascription of undue inuence on colonial policy to mercantile groups (IV.vii.b.49). He referred frequently to the clamourous importunity of partial interests and in speaking of the growth of monopoly pointed out that government policy has so much increased the number of some particular tribes of
187

them, that, like an overgrown standing army, they have become formidable to the government, and upon many occasions intimidate the legislature. (IV.ii.43.) The point helps to explain Smiths recurring theme that legislative proposals emanating from members of this class ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention (I.xi.p.10). [20] Letter 151 addressed to Smith, dated 3 April 1776. [21] Letter 153, 8 April 1776. [22] Letter 152, April 1776. [23] Letter 187, 26 November 1777. [24] Letter 150, 1 April 1776. [25] J. Y. T. Greig (ed.), The Letters of David Hume (Oxford, 1932), ii.314. [26] Letter from William Strahan to David Hume, dated 12 April 1776 (Hume MSS. Royal Society of Edinburgh). [27] Letter 154, 18 April 1776. [28] Letter 179. [29] Smiths friends recognized this aspect but were faintly worried by it. Hugh Blair felt that some parts of the book, notably the discussion on the American colonies, might well be left out because they made the book like a publication for the present moment (Letter 151), and Hume was aware that it had the attraction of offering curious facts (Letter 150). Whatever the estimates of Blair or Hume of the practical aspect of the WN, it was a side which attracted a wider readership. A perceptive reviewer in an otherwise uninformative and brief notice in the Scots Magazine (xxxviii (1776) 2056) assessed the twin attractions more equally and more fairly: Few writers . . . have united a proper attention to facts with a regular and scientic investigation of principles . . . [Smith] has taken an extensive and connected view of the several subjects in which the wealth of nations is concerned; and from an happy union of fact and theory had deduced a system, which, we apprehend, is on the whole more satisfactory, and rests on better grounds, than any which had before been offered to the public. Hume, Blair, the reviewer in the Scots Magazine, each in his own and different way, recognized both the intellectual attraction of a comprehensive and systematic analysis and the additional attraction of a valid interpretation of contemporary events and problems. [30] T. S. Ashton, Economic Fluctuations in England, 17001800 (Oxford, 1959), 173. [31] Steuarts general position is perhaps adequately summarized in the statement that In treating every question of political conomy, I constantly suppose a statesman at the head of government, systematically conducting every part of it, so as to prevent the vicissitudes of manners, and innovations, by their natural and immediate effects or consequences, from hurting any interest within the commonwealth. (An Inquiry into the Principles of Political Oeconomy: Being an Essay
188

on the Science of Domestic Policy in Free Nations (London, 1767) i. 120, ed. Skinner (Edinburgh 1966), i.122). Most of the contemporary reviews of Steuarts work commented on this aspect of it, in a way which throws an interesting light on the kind of reception Smith could expect. The Critical Review, xxiii (1767), commented for example: We have no idea of a statesman having any connection with the affair, and we believe that the superiority which England has at present over all the world, in point of commerce, is owing to her excluding statesmen from the executive part of all commercial concerns. (412.) [32] M. Palyi, The Introduction of Adam Smith on the Continent in J. M. Clark et al., Adam Smith, 17761926 (1928, reprinted New York, 1966), 196. [33] Even in the art of war, where the contribution of the state of the mechanical as well as of some other arts is recognized in general, and the invention of rearms in particular (V.i.a.43), the division of labour is still the key to success: it is necessary that [the art of war] should become the sole or principal occupation of a particular class of citizens, and the division of labour is as necessary for the improvement of this, as of every other art. (V.i.a.14). [34] F. Hutcheson, An Inquiry concerning Moral Good and Evil in An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (London, 4th ed., 1738), 207. [35] H. T. Buckle, History of Civilization in England (London, 185761). Reprinted as On Scotland and the Scotch Intellect, ed. H. J. Hanham (Chicago, 1970), 285.

189

INTRODUCTIONS TO VOLUME III: ESSAYS ON PHILOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS

1. General Introduction[1] [D.D. Raphael and A.S. Skinner]


I Most of the essays contained in this book were not prepared for the press by Smith. They are fragments in factperhaps, as Black and Hutton suggested in the Advertisement to EPS, parts of a plan he had once formed, for giving a connected history of the liberal sciences and elegant arts. The essays are also diverse both in terms of subjectmatter and in the degree of nish they had acquired at the time of Smiths death. Yet, at the same time, there are some common elements. To begin with, the more important of the essays plainly have a philosophical character, which conforms to Smiths own recommendations regarding the organization of scientic discourse. Smith believed that writers of didactical discourse ought ideally to deliver a system of

190

science by laying down certain principles, known or proved, in the beginning, from whence we account for the several phaenomena, connecting all together by the same chain (LRBL ii.133, ed. Lothian, 140). Smith described this as the Newtonian method, while well aware that it had been used before Newtonmost notably by Descartes. This point in itself is an important reminder that Smith drew an implicit distinction between the method used in expounding a system of thought and that employed in establishing such a system: in the former case, he was able to point out that Descartes and Newton shared a common approach; in the latter, he insisted that the Cartesian system was fanciful, ingenious and elegant, tho fallacious (Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review, 5).2 In short, the task of establishing a system of thought must be conducted in terms of the combination of reason and experiencealthough even here he was quick to associate this denition of the term method with Galileo rather than Newton (Astronomy, IV.44). Secondly, it is at least broadly true that many of the essays provide evidence of Smiths concern with the principles of human nature, again, a wideranging interest. For example, Smith himself was to point out that under some conditions the study of grammar could provide the best History of the natural progress of the Human mind in forming the most important abstractions upon which all reasoning depends,3 and John Millar explained his teachers choice of emphasis in the LRBL by reference to Smiths belief that: The best method of explaining and illustrating the various powers of the human mind, the most useful part of metaphysics, arises from an examination of the several ways of communicating our thoughts by speech, and from an attention to the principles of those literary compositions which contribute to persuasion or entertainment. (Stewart, I.16.) In the same vein, Dugald Stewart suggested that Smiths cultivation of the Fine Arts was developed: less, it is probable, with a view to the peculiar enjoyments they convey, (though he was by no means without sensibility to their beauties,) than on account of their connection with the general principles of the human mind; to an examination of which they afford the most pleasing of all avenues (Stewart, III.13). Finally, we should recall Smiths overriding interest in historical questions and the fact that he: seldom misses an opportunity of indulging his curiosity, in tracing from the principles of human nature, or from the circumstances of society, the origin of the opinions and the institutions which he describes (Stewart, II.52). Earlier, Stewart had commented on Smiths youthful interest in mathematics4 and the natural sciences, together with the principles of human nature, both of which: enabled him to exemplify some of his favourite theories concerning the natural progress of the mind in the investigation of truth, by the history of those sciences in which the connection and succession of discoveries may be traced with the greatest advantage (Stewart, I.8). While the features outlined above are all characteristic of the major essays in this volume, they are combined in one of them to greatest effectthe Astronomy, once described by J. A. Schumpeter as the pearl of the collection.5 While the essay is one of the best examples of theoretical history, it is perhaps most remarkable as a study of those principles of human nature which lead and direct philosophical inquiry.

191

II One of the characteristics of theoretical history is that it may be applied to situations where direct evidence is lacking. As Stewart put it: In this want of direct evidence, we are under a necessity of supplying the place of fact by conjecture; and when we are unable to ascertain how men have actually conducted themselves upon particular occasions, of considering in what manner they are likely to have proceeded, from the principles of their nature, and the circumstances of their external situation. (II.46.) In the context of the discussion of the origin of philosophy, Smith had comparatively little to say about mans external situation, but he did note that philosophical effort could only take place under conditions where subsistence was no longer precarious and where social order and a regular subordination of ranks were established (Astronomy, III.1,5).6 Elsewhere he also noted the importance of language as a means of expressing ideas while pointing out that language7 itself developed by virtue of mans intellectual capabilitiesfor example, his capacity for abstraction and generalization in addition to speech itself. Given the above conditions, the assumptions employed are fundamentally simple: Smith assumes that all men are endowed with certain faculties and propensities such as reason, reection, and imagination, and that they are motivated by a desire to acquire the sources of pleasure and avoid those of pain. In this context pleasure relates to a state of the imagination: the state of . . . tranquillity, and composure (Imitative Arts, II.20). Such a state, Smith suggested, may be attained even where the objects contemplated are unlike or the processes involved are complexprovided only that the connection is a customary one. He added that the indolent imagination nds satisfaction but no stimulus to thought under such circumstances and duly noted that the bulk of mankind often express no interest in the commonplace. For example, the conversion of food into esh and bone (Astronomy, II.11), even lookingglasses, become so familiar that men typically do not think that their effects require any explication (Imitative Arts, I.17). In the same way, Smith cited the example of the skilled artisan (such as a brewer, dyer, or distiller) who effects the most remarkable transformations in the materials that he uses and yet cannot conceive what occasion there is for any connecting events to unite those appearances, which seem to him to succeed each other very naturally. It is their nature, he tells us, to follow one another in this order, and that accordingly they always do so. (Astronomy, II.11.) Three points are worth emphasizing before going further: rst, Smith places a good deal of weight on conventional knowledge8 (i.e. that kind of knowledge which is based on customary connection), and on the fact that the imagination is indolent. As Smith put it, men have seldom had the curiosity to inquire by what process of intermediate events a given change is brought about, where the passage of the thought from . . . one object to the other is by custom become quite smooth and easy (Astronomy, II.11). In fact Smith had very little more to say about the origin and nature of knowledge of this kind. Secondly, Smith stressed the difference between the philosopher and the ordinary man, while being careful to add that these differences arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education (WN I.ii.4). But habit, custom, and education can make the philosopher more perceptive, so that just as the botanist differs from the casual gardener, or the musician from the

192

generality of his auditors, so he who has spent his whole life in the study of the connecting principles of nature, will often feel an interval betwixt two objects, which, to more careless observers, seem very strictly conjoined (Astronomy, II.11). Finally, it must be emphasized that in the Astronomy Smith was not so much concerned with the state of composure per se, as with the sources of its disturbance, and the nature of those processes by virtue of which that state could be reestablished. In fact, Smith was largely concerned with a very specic aspect of the problem of knowledge, namely, the stimulus given to the undertanding by sentiments such as surprise, wonder, or admiration. The limited objective of the Astronomy was clearly stated at the outset: It is the design of this Essay to consider particularly the nature and causes of each of these sentiments, whose inuence is of far wider extent than we should be apt upon a careless view to imagine. (Introduction, 7.) Smiths initial argument then is to the effect that when certain objects or events follow in a particular order, they come to be so connected together in the fancy, that the idea of the one seems, of its own accord, to call up and introduce that of the other. But, while the imagination nds no stimulus to thought under such conditions, Smith went on to argue that this would not be the case where the appearances studied were in any way unexpected: We are at rst surprised by the unexpectedness of the new appearance, and when that momentary emotion is over, we still wonder how it came to occur in that place. (II.8.) In other words, we feel surprise when some object (or number of objects) is drawn to our attention which does not fall into a recognized pattern; a sentiment which is quickly followed by that of wonder, where the latter is dened in these terms: The stop which is thereby given to the career of the imagination, the difculty which it nds in passing along such disjointed objects, and the feeling of something like a gap or interval betwixt them, constitute the whole essence of this emotion. (II.9.) Wonder, in short, involves a source of pain (a disutility); a feeling of discomfort which gives rise to uncertainty and anxious curiosity and even to giddiness and confusion. On the other hand, the response to this situation involves the pursuit of some explanation, with a view to relieving the mind from a state of disequilibrium (i.e. lack of composure); a natural reaction, given Smiths assumptions, designed to eliminate the sense of wonder by providing some appropriate ordering of the phenomena in question, or some plausible account of the links between different objects. Finally, Smith suggested that once we have succeeded in providing an acceptable and coherent account of a particular problem, the very existence of that explanation may heighten our appreciation of the appearances in question. In this way, for example, we learn to admire a complex social structure once its hidden springs have been exposed, while in the same way a theory of astronomy may help us to admire the heavens through presenting the theatre of nature as a coherent and therefore a more magnicent spectacle (II.12). Surprise, wonder, and admiration are, therefore, the three sequential sentiments on which Smiths account of mental stimulus depends.9 Once again, there are a number of points which deserve notice: First, it will be observed, that man is impelled to seek an explanation for observed appearances as a result of a subjective feeling of discomfort, and that the resulting explanation or theory is therefore designed to meet some
193

psychological need. Nature as a whole, Smith suggests, seems to abound with events which appear solitary and incoherent and which therefore disturb the easy movement of the imagination (II.12). Under these circumstances, the philosopher feels the disutility involved in the sentiment of wonder; a sentiment which thus emerges as the rst principle which prompts mankind to the study of Philosophy, of that science which pretends to lay open the concealed connections that unite the various appearances of nature (III.3). It follows from this that the explanation offered can only satisfy the mind if it is coherent, capable of accounting for observed appearances, and stated in terms of principles which are at least plausible.10 Secondly, it will be noted that wonder is the rst, but not the only principle featured and Smith duly went on to emphasize that philosophical effort involved not only an escape from the contemplation of jarring and discordant appearances but also a source of pleasure in its own right; a point made by him in suggesting that men: pursue this study for its own sake, as an original pleasure or good in itself, without regarding its tendency to procure them the means of many other pleasures (III.3). In fact Smith provided many examples of the kinds of pleasure which might be involved in philosophical work. In the LRBL, for example, he noted that It gives us a pleasure to see the phaenomena which we reckoned the most unaccountable, all deduced from some principle (commonly a well known one) and all united in one chain (ii.1334, ed. Lothian, 140). Likewise, in WN he referred to the beauty of a systematical arrangement of different observations connected by a few common principles (V.i.f.25), and in the Imitative Arts (II.30), likened the pleasure to be derived from the contemplation of a great system of thought to the intellectual and even sensual delights of a well composed concerto of instrumental music.11 But, perhaps characteristically, Smith noted that such sources of pleasure were not equally accessible even to those of philosophical pretensions; that scientic thought also involved a discipline of which not all were capable and that this discipline could sometimes put too great a strain (i.e. a disutility) on the mind even where presented with an organized body of thought. Under some circumstances at least, too severe an application to study sometimes brings on lunacy and frenzy, in those especially who are somewhat advanced in life, but whose imaginations, from being too late in applying, have not got those habits which dispose them to follow easily the reasonings in the abstract sciences (Astronomy, II.10). III Most of these points nd further illustration in the History of Astronomy itself, where Smith reviewed four main systems of thought, not with a view to judging their absurdity or probability, their agreement or inconsistency with truth and reality, but rather with a view to considering how far each of them was tted to sooth(e) the imaginationthat particular point of view which belongs to our subject (II.12). Looked at in this way, the analysis has a static aspect at least in so far as it is designed to show the extent to which each of the four main astronomical systems reviewed does in fact soothe the imagination, isolating by this means the characteristics which they have in common. But Smith goes further than his stated object in noting that the systems of astronomy reviewed followed each other in a certain historical sequence, and in exposing
194

the causal links which, he felt, might explain that sequence. The essence of Smiths argument would seem to be that each system at the time of its original appearance did satisfy the needs of the imagination, but that each was subject to a process of modication as new problems came to light; a process of modication which resulted in a degree of complexity which ultimately became unacceptable to the imagination. This in turn paves the way for a new kind of responsethe production not just of an account, but of an alternative account (in this case of the heavens); a new thoughtsystem designed to explain the same problems as the rst, at least in its most complex form. From one point of view this is the classic pattern of cultural historyhuman activity released within a given environment ultimately causing a qualitative change in that environmentas illustrated, say, by the development of language or the transition from feudalism to the commercial stage (WN III). But there is a difference, partly because environment here relates to a state of knowledge and partly because the reactions of individuals are now described as selfconscious i.e. designed deliberately to modify an existing thoughtsystem or to replace it with a more acceptable alternative. As a means of illustrating the burden of the argument, it may be helpful to review the origin, development, and decline of the rst astronomical system before going on to say something of those which followed it. Specialist comment on the astronomical content (e.g. as to its accuracy) of Smiths treatment is outwith the competence of the general editors, and must be left to the historian of science. On Smiths argument, the rst astronomers were faced with the need to explain the movements of the Stars, Sun, Moon, and ve known planets; a task which was fullled in terms of a theory of Solid Spheres each of which was thought to have a circular but regular motion.12 The Stars for example, being xed in their positions relative to one another, while changing with reference to the observer, were naturally thought to have all the marks of being xed, like so many gems, in the concave side of the rmament, and of being carried round by the diurnal revolutions of that solid body (IV.1). Additional Spheres were used to account for the movements of the Sun and Moon (one inside the other to explain the eclipse) with ve more for the planets or wandering stars. The astronomical system which emerged thus represented the Earth as: self balanced and suspended in the centre of the universe, surrounded by the elements of Air and Ether, and covered by eight polished and cristalline Spheres, each of which was distinguished by one or more beautiful and luminous bodies, and all of which revolved round their common centre, by varied, but by equable and proportionable motions (IV.5). Such a system of thought apparently met the needs of the imagination by providing a coherent and plausible explanation for observed phenomena, and, in connecting by simple and familiar processes the grandest and most seemingly disjointed appearances in the heavens, added to mans admiration for them (IV.4). Indeed, even if some contemporaries recognized that such a system did not account for all appearances, the degree of completeness was such that the generality of men would be tempted to slur over (IV.6) such problems rather than qualify in any degree the satisfaction derived from the
195

theory itself. In fact, Smith went on to suggest that this beautiful and appealing construction of the intellect might have stood the examination of all ages, and have gone down triumphant to the remotest posterity had there been no other bodies discoverable in the heavens (IV.4). But additional bodies were discovered, and this together with the fact that Eudoxus was not one of the generality of men led to the need to modify the existing system and to the addition of more spheres, as a means of accounting for changes in the relative positions of the planets. As a result Eudoxus raised the total number of spheres to 27, Callippus to 34, and Aristotle upon a yet more attentive observation to 56 (until Fracastoro, smit with the eloquence of Plato and Aristotle and with the regularity and harmony of their system, felt it necessary to raise the number of spheres to 72, IV.7). In this way the relatively simple system of Eudoxus was gradually modied in order to meet the needs of the imagination when faced with new problems to be explained, until a situation was reached where the explanation offered actually violated the basic prerequisite of simplicity (IV.8). In consequence, Smith suggests, a second major system was developedby Apollonius (subsequently rened by Hipparchus and Ptolemy)that of Eccentric Spheres and Epicycles. Once again, therefore, we are presented with a system which was designed to introduce harmony and order into the minds conception of the movements of the heavenly bodies and which succeeded in so doing at least at one stage of its development. However, the same argument is advanced by Smith; namely, that a gradual process of modication followed as adherents of the new system came to terms with new observations, or newly perceived problems, until a situation was once more reached where this intellectual system or imaginary machine: though, perhaps, more simple, and certainly better adapted, to the phaenomena than the Fiftysix Planetary Spheres of Aristotle, was still too intricate and complex for the imagination to rest in it with complete tranquillity and satisfaction (IV.19). Indeed, Smith considered that the situation became even more complex and thus unsatisfactory as a result of the efforts of the Schoolmen, and especially those of Peurbach, who laboured with perverse ingenuity to reconcile the rst astronomical system (of Concentric Spheres) with the second which had been designed to replace it (IV.25). The response to this situation was the system of Copernicus: a system prompted, he tells us, by the confusion in which the old hypothesis represented the motions of the heavenly bodies (IV.28). Like the system which it was to replace, the Copernican managed to account for observed appearances in the manner of a simpler machine, requiring fewer movements and by representing: the Sun, the great enlightener of the universe, whose body was alone larger than all the Planets taken together, as established immoveable in the center, shedding light and heat on all the worlds that circulated around him in one uniform direction, but in longer or shorter periods, according to their different distances (IV.32). This was to prove an attractive hypothesis to some, not merely because of the beauty and coherence of the system, but also because of the novelty of the view of nature which it suggestedemphatically the case with an account which moved the Earth from its foundations, stopt the revolution of the Firmament, made the Sun stand still (IV.33).
196

Yet at the same time, Smith argued that the system was by no means acceptable to all or even to those who conned their attention to astronomical matters, the difculty being that Copernicus had invested the earth with a velocity which was unfamiliar, i.e. which ran counter to normal experience. The imagination tended to think of the earth as ponderous and even averse to motion (IV.38), and it was this difculty which led to the formulation of the alternative system of Tycho Brahea system partly prompted by jealousy of Copernicus, but none the less a system to some extent compounded of those of the latter and of Ptolemy. In this system, the Earth continued to be, as in the old account, the immoveable center of the universe (IV.42). Smith added that Brahes account was more complex and more incoherent than that of Copernicus. Such, however, was the difculty that mankind felt in conceiving the motion of the Earth, that it long balanced the reputation of that otherwise more beautiful system (IV.43). In other words, the coherence and simplicity of the Copernican system was qualied by the unfamiliarity of one of its central principles; a problem which was so important as to render a more complex account more acceptable to some than it could otherwise have been. Interestingly enough, Smith represents subsequent developments as involving an attempt to make the more elegant system (of Copernicus) acceptable to the imagination by removing the basic difculty i.e. by providing a plausible explanation for the movement of the Earth. In this connection Smith argued that the astronomical work done by Kepler contributed to the completion of the system, while research on the problem of motion by Galileo helped to remove some of the more telling objections to the idea of a moving Earth. But in terms of the general acceptance of the idea of the Earth spinning at high velocity Smith gave most emphasis to the work of Descartes, who had represented the planets as oating in an immense ocean of ether containing at all times, an innite number of greater and smaller vortices, or circular streams (IV.62). Once the imagination accepted a hypothesis based on the familiar principle of motion after impulse, it was a short step to the elimination of the central difculty since it was quite agreeable to its usual habits to conceive that the planets should follow the stream of this ocean, how rapid soever (IV.65). He added, in a signicant passage, that under such circumstances: the imaginations of mankind could no longer refuse themselves the pleasure of going along with so harmonious an account of things. The system of Tycho Brahe was every day less and less talked of, till at last it was forgotten altogether (Ibid.). Yet, as Smith went on to note, the modications introduced by Descartes were not prompted by astronomical knowledge so much as by a desire to produce a plausible explanation for the Copernican thesis. Moreover, he noted that further observations, especially those of Cassini, supported the authority of laws rst discovered by Kepler for which the Cartesian theory could provide no explanation. Under such circumstances, the latter system while it might continue to amuse the learned in other sciences . . . could no longer satisfy those that were skilled in Astronomy (IV.67). The Cartesian system was to give way to the Newtonian; a theory which was capable of accounting for observed phenomena in terms of a small number of basic and familiar principles, and of successfully predicting their future movements. Smith wrote of the Newtonian system

197

with real enthusiasm and in his Letter to the Edinburgh Review rejoiced as a Briton to nd the contributors to the Encyclopdie acknowledge its authority as compared to that of Descartes. Characteristically, however, he left readers of the Astronomy with the reminder that all philosophical systems are mere inventions of the imagination, even though he had insensibly been drawn in to write as if Newtons system was objectively true (IV.76; cf. Section V below). IV While the papers in this volume help to illustrate Smiths wide range of interests, they also conrm that he had an extensive knowledge of literature of a broadly scientic kind. The Astronomy, for example, suggests a very close knowledge of the works of classical authors, together with more modern writers such as Cassini, Kepler, Descartes, Copernicus, and Newton. Other essays extend the list to include Franklin and Linnaeus, while the Letter to the Edinburgh Review calls attention to Boyle and Bacon, together with Continental authors such as dAlembert, Buffon, Daubenton, and Raumur.13 It is worth observing in this connection that Dugald Stewart called attention to Smiths unusual knowledge of Continental scientic work (I.25) and considered the mathematical sciences to be very favourable subjects for theoretical historya fact which may have prompted Smith to undertake perfectly analogous inquiries into the wider elds of language and jurisprudence (II.49,50).14 There can be no doubt that Smith regarded such exercises in theoretical history as having a serious scientic purpose or that an essay such as the Astronomy conforms in terms of structure to the general requirements of didactical discourse as set out in LRBL. At the same time, the argument of the Astronomy appears to rely on the use of both reason and experiencepartly by virtue of passing in review a series of models which had a historical existence, and partly by explaining their appearance, development, and replacement by reference to a number of principles of human nature whose manifestations could be empirically veried. In this sense, Smiths methodology would seem to conform to the requirements of the Newtonian method properly so called in that he used the techniques of analysis and synthesis in the appropriate order. For, as Colin Maclaurin pointed out: in any other way, we can never be sure that we assume the principles that really obtain in nature; and that our system, after we have composed it with great labour, is not mere dream and illusion.15 Dream and illusion . . . yet it is one thing to suggest that the (rst order) activities of individuals in the eld of philosophy or science can be studied in a scientic way (the second order enterprise on which Smith was engaged) and another to argue that activity of either kind can always be said to be scientic in the sense of conforming to the ideal of objectivity. Moreover, Smiths discussion of the principles which lead and direct philosophical inquiries concentrates, as we have seen, on the needs of the imaginationon broadly psychological needsso that, as Richard Olson has recently pointed out: The great signicance of Smiths doctrine is that since it measures the value of philosophical systems solely in relation to their satisfaction of the human craving for

198

order, it sets up a human rather than an absolute or natural standard for science, and it leaves all science essentially hypothetical. Furthermore, Smith implied that unceasing change rather than permanence must be the characteristic of philosophy.16 While this position does seem accurately to express the burden of Smiths argument as contained in the Astronomy, two points might be suggested by way of qualication. First, it should be noted that Smith did not claim an exclusive role for the central principles of surprise, wonder, and admiration, but rather asserted that the part played by these sentiments was of far wider extent than we should be apt upon a careless view to imagine. Secondly, it is worth remarking that while Smith regarded all theoretical constructions as products of the imagination designed to meet its needs, he also indicated that there was a difference between the natural and moral sciences. As he put the point in the TMS (VII.ii.4.14): A system of natural philosophy may appear very plausible, and be for a long time very generally received in the world, and yet have no foundation in nature, nor any sort of resemblance to the truth. The vortices of Des Cartes were regarded by a very ingenious nation, for near a century together, as a most satisfactory account of the revolutions of the heavenly bodies. Yet it has been demonstrated, to the conviction of all mankind, that these pretended causes of those wonderful effects, not only do not actually exist, but are utterly impossible, and if they did exist, could produce no such effects as are ascribed to them. But it is otherwise with systems of moral philosophy, and an author who pretends to account for the origin of our moral sentiments, cannot deceive us so grossly, nor depart so very far from all resemblance to the truth. And yet by way of qualication almost, Smith had earlier remarked that some philosophers, notably mathematicians, are frequently very indifferent about the reception which they may meet with from the public, enjoying as they do the most perfect assurance, both of the truth and of the importance of their discoveries. He added: Natural philosophers, in their independency upon the public opinion, approach nearly to mathematicians, and, in their judgments concerning the merit of their own discoveries and observations, enjoy some degree of the same security and tranquillity. (TMS III.2.20.) Passages such as these suggest that truth is attainable while at the same time reminding us of the importance of opinion. But there can be no doubt that Smith did as a matter of fact draw attention to the importance of the subjective side of science both in emphasizing the role of the imagination when reviewing his basic principles, and in illustrating the working of these principles by reference to the history of astronomy. For example, when speaking of the introduction of the ingenious equalizing circle in the system of eccentric spheres, he noted that Nothing can more evidently show, how much the repose and tranquillity of the imagination is the ultimate end of philosophy (Astronomy, IV.13), than this device, and later commented on the ease with which the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of the ideas of their imagination (IV.35). In the same way, he emphasized the pleasure to be derived from simplicity, order, coherence, and indicated that because men nd beauty to be a source of pleasure they may unwittingly give the products of the intellect a form which satises purely aesthetic criteria. Hence the New-

199

tonian method as described in LRBL may be used because it is more ingenious and for that reason more engaging than any other. Smith also recognized the importance of analogy in suggesting that philosophers, in attempting to explain unusual appearances, often did so in terms of knowledge gained in unrelated elds. It was suggested that reasoning by analogy might affect the nature of the work done, in the manner of the Pythagoreans who rst studied arithmetic and then explained all things by the properties of numbersor the modern physician who lately gave a system of moral philosophy upon the principles of his own art (Astronomy, II.12): In the same manner also, others have written parallels of painting and poetry, of poetry and music, of music and architecture, of beauty and virtue, of all the ne arts; systems which have universally owed their origin to the lucubrations of those who were acuainted with the one art, but ignorant of the other. Indeed, Smith went further in noting that in some cases the analogy chosen could become not just a source of ingenious similitudes but even the great hinge upon which every thing turned (ibid.). This leads on to the discussion of another side of the problem, again illustrated by the Astronomy, namely that different types of philosopher may produce conicting accounts of the same phenomena. We have already noted that while at a certain stage of development the Cartesian system might continue to amuse the learned in other sciences it could no longer satisfy those who were skilled in Astronomy (IV.67). But Smith also observed that the Copernican system had been adopted by astronomers even though inconsistent with the systems of physics as then known (IV.35), and that the system of eccentric spheres had been accepted by astronomers and mathematicians, but not by philosophers in general: Each party of them too, had . . . completed their peculiar system or theory of the universe, and no human consideration could then have induced them to give up any part of it. (IV.18.) As this implies, there may be a certain unwillingness to accept ideas formulated in a particular way, and even resistance to the reception of new ones as a result of certain prejudices. Some of these are obvious: for example, the natural prejudices of the imagination (IV.52), which partly explained the original resistance to the idea of a moving earth. Others are more complex, especially those which Smith described as prejudices of education.17 For example, Smith pointed out that resistance to the acceptance of Copernican ideas was partly explained by the Peripatetic Philosophy, the only philosophy then known in the world (IV.38) and added, with reference to the system as a whole that: When it appeared in the world, it was almost universally disapproved of, by the learned as well as by the ignorant. The natural prejudices of sense, conrmed by education, prevailed too much with both, to allow them to give it a fair examination. (IV.35.) In the same way, the immediate followers of Copernicus were held to have faced objections which were necessarily connected with that way of conceiving things, which then prevailed universally in the learned world (IV.39). Smith also noted the constraint on the development of new knowledge represented by reverence for the past (IV.20, 28) and made a good deal of national prejudice in the Letter to the Edinburgh Review, observing that the attachment of French philosophers to the system of Descartes had for a time retarded and incumbered the real advancement of the science of nature ( 5).

200

Points such as these seem to have been conrmed by those whose business it has been to examine the behaviour of philosophers (in Smiths sense of the term). To go no further than the recent past, it is noteworthy that T. S. Kuhns work on scientic revolutions also emphasized the problems of communication which exist between proponents of different theories (Smiths prejudices of education) while explaining the development of ideas in terms of systems (paradigms) each of which was doomed to destruction.18 Indeed, Kuhns argument taken as a whole may seem to suggest broad agreement with Smiths assessment of the principles of human nature and to support his belief that these principles were constant through time. It was, of course, this thesis that made it possible for the thinker of Smiths period to conceive of the social sciences as being on a par with the natural, thus matching the achievements of Newton in this eld. For Dugald Stewart, the application of this fundamental and leading idea to the various branches of theoretical history was to become the peculiar glory of the latter half of the eighteenth century. 19 What Smith does is to leave the reader of these essays in some doubt as to wherein exactly glory is to be found: in a contribution to knowledge, or to the composure of the imagination, or both. V It remains to note the inuence of Hume on Adam Smiths philosophy of science. In his youth Smith evidently shared the usual interest of philosophers in the theory of knowledge. His essay on the External Senses is just the kind of thing one would expect from an able young philosopher. Typically, and for this subject very properly, Smith brings together evidence from scientists and arguments from philosophers in order to reach his views. A prominent feature of the essay is his acknowledgement of indebtedness to Berkeleys New Theory of Vision, from which he is ready to accept much and to criticize a little. There is no reference to the more radical use that Berkeley made of the selfsame arguments in the wider theory of his Principles of Human Knowledge. Whether or not Smith ever read the latter work, he must surely have learned something of Berkeleys idealist philosophy from Humes Treatise of Human Nature. It therefore seems likely, as Dr. Wightman suggests (133 below), that the essay on the External Senses is a very early piece, written before Smith had read Hume. If so, the History of Astronomy will have come later. Although it does not mention Hume by name, it shows unmistakable signs of inuence from the Treatise of Human Nature. Apart from Humean language about the association of ideas and about degrees of vivacity in sensations, Smiths account of the imagination seems to be an adaptation of Hume. He does not simply follow Hume, however, as he largely followed Berkeley when writing of vision in the essay on the External Senses. His view of the imagination in the History of Astronomy adds a signicant element of originality by applying to the hypotheses of science a notion which Hume had used to explain the beliefs of common sense. That is one point of historical interest in Smiths account of the imagination here. Another is that it shows Smiths appreciation of the positive side of Humes epistemology. Scholars have tended to assume that Humes contemporaries, like the thinkers of the nineteenth
201

century, saw him as simply a scepticin the theory of knowledge at any rate. This was certainly true of his most severe critics, Thomas Reid and James Beattie. Humes constructive philosophy of human nature, brought out by such twentiethcentury scholars as N. Kemp Smith and H. H. Price, was unperceived by Reid and Beattie, and so by the later critics who took their cue from Reid and Beattie. There is evidence, however, that some of Humes contemporaries in Scotland, Adam Smith among them, did not share this blind spot. After Smiths death, his heir, David Douglas, evidently wrote to John Millar about the manuscripts which Smith had allowed to remain understroyed. We know of this letter from the reply which it evoked. After referring to the essay on the Imitative Arts, Millar continues: Of all his writings, I have most curiosity about the metaphysical work you mention. I should like to see his powers of illustration employed upon the true old Humean philosophy. The last words imply that Douglas, in his letter, had seen a connection between a work of Smith and the philosophy of Hume. They do not necessarily imply that Douglas would have agreed with Millar in regarding Humes philosophy (or the relevant part of Humes philosophy) as true, but they do at least suggest that he would not think the judgement novel or bizarre. The letter was printed by W. R. Scott in ASSP, 31113. Scott was not sure whether the metaphysical work of Adam Smith that is referred to could be identied. In a note on p. 313 he said there was no trace of thhe manuscript so described, but in an earlier part of the book (p. 115, note 3) he suggested that it might be either an unknown manuscript or the work entitled The Principles which lead and direct Philosophical Enquiries that was printed in Smiths posthumous Essays on Philosophical Subjects. There can be little doubt that this work is what David Douglas was talking about. Each of its three parts carries a title beginning The Principles which lead and direct Philosophical Enquiries; illustrated by . . .. The term illustrated by is picked up in John Millars phrase, I should like to see his powers of illustration employed . . .. In fact the metaphysical discussion, on Humean lines, occurs only at the beginning of the rst and longest essay, the History of Astronomy, but the initial sections of that essay are intended to be a general introduction to the work as a whole. It is these introductory sections that David Douglas must have had in mind when he talked of a metaphysical work in the spirit of Hume. What, then, is particularly Humean about Adam Smiths view of the history of science and philosophy? Smith follows the dictum of Plato and Aristotle that philosophy begins in wonder, but he gives this a Humean twist. Wonder arises when the smooth course of the imagination is disturbed by an unusual sequence of events. It is assuaged when philosophy (meaning science) shows the unusual event to be part of a system, a customary order, and so enables the imagination to resume an easy passage. Smith describes the work of the imagination in words that recall the doctrine of Humes Treatise: When two objects, however, unlike, have often been observed to follow each other, and have constantly presented themselves to the senses in that order, they come to be so connected together in the fancy, that the idea of the one seems, of its own accord, to call up and introduce that of the other. If the objects are still observed to succeed each other as before, this connection, or, as it has been called, this association of their
202

ideas, becomes stricter and stricter, and the habit of the imagination to pass from the conception of the one to that of the other, grows more and more rivetted and conrmed. . . . When objects succeed each other in the same train in which the ideas of the imagination have thus been accustomed to move, . . . such objects appear all closely connected with one another, and the thought glides easily along them, without effort and without interruption. . . . There is no break, no stop, no gap, no interval. The ideas excited by so coherent a chain of things seem, as it were, to oat through the mind of their own accord, without obliging it to exert itself, or to make any effort in order to pass from one of them to another. But if this customary connection be interrupted, if one or more objects appear in an order quite different from that to which the imagination has been accustomed, and for which it is prepared, the contrary of all this happens. . . . The imagination no longer feels the usual facility of passing from the event which goes before to that which comes after. . . . The fancy is stopped and interrupted in that natural movement or career, according to which it was proceeding. Those two events seem to stand at a distance from each other; it endeavours to bring them together, but they refuse to unite; and it feels, or imagines it feels, something like a gap or interval betwixt them. It . . . endeavours to nd out something which may ll up the gap, which like a bridge, may so far at least unite those seemingly distant objects, as to render the passage of the thought betwixt them smooth, and natural, and easy. The supposition of a chain of intermediate, though invisible, events, which succeed each other in a train similar to that in which the imagination has been accustomed to move, and which link together those two disjointed appearances, is the only means by which the imagination can ll up this interval, is the only bridge which, if one may say so, can smooth its passage from the one object to the other. (Astronomy, II.78) Smith is drawing here on Humes account both of causation and of our belief in an external world. He writes not only of constant conjunction but also of coherence in our experience. When he describes the interruption of customary connections and of the smooth passage of the imagination (or the fancy or the thought), and when he proceeds to say that the imagination lls up the gap by supposing a chain of intermediate though invisible events, he is making use of Humes doctrine in Treatise, I.iv.2, the section entitled Of scepticism with regard to the senses. Smith is not simply taking over Humes theory, for Hume deals with our belief in the continued existence of material things while Smith talks about scientic theory. But Smith is adapting Humes account of the imagination from the one subject to the other. Smith thinks that philosophy or science is an enlargement of commonsense belief as represented by Hume. Philosophy, the science of the connecting principles of nature . . . may be regarded as one of those arts which address themselves to the imagination ( 12). Of course Hume himself says that systems of philosophy are also a product of the imagination, but his description of the processes of the imagination in lling up gaps comes into his account of our ordinary belief in an external world, and that is what Adam Smith uses in his account of scientic theory.

203

The Humean character of this section of Smiths History of Astronomy immediately strikes the modern scholar who is familiar with H. H. Prices book, Humes Theory of the External World (1940). It seems that David Douglas saw it in the same sort of way and that his conception of Humes philosophy included the role of the imagination in building up our beliefs about the world. There can be little doubt that Adam Smith himself appreciated this side of Hume. Although his debt to Hume is not explicitly acknowledged in the Astronomy, the phrases from the Treatise are unmistakable. Smith takes seriously his conclusion that scientic theory is the work of the imagination. His History of Astronomy leads up to a detailed account of the theory of Newton. While Smith writes in more than one place of the attractions of the Newtonian system to the imagination, his description of it very naturally uses at times the language of objective fact. So he ends by recognizing that a work of imagination can seem to be the discovery of truth. And even we, while we have been endeavouring to represent all philosophical systems as mere inventions of the imagination, to connect together the otherwise disjointed and discordant phaenomena of nature, have insensibly been drawn in, to make use of language expressing the connecting principles of this one, as if they were the real chains which Nature makes use of to bind together her several operations. Can we wonder then, that it should have gained the general and complete approbation of mankind, and that it should now be considered, not as an attempt to connect in the imagination the phaenomena of the Heavens, but as the greatest discovery that ever was made by man, the discovery of an immense chain of the most important and sublime truths, all closely connected together, by one capital fact, of the reality of which we have daily experience. (IV.76) Smith seems to be implying here that it is in fact a mistake, though a natural one, to think of Newtons system as the discovery of objective truths and to think of gravity as a real chain that binds operations in nature. This belief is an illusion of the imagination, to use a Humean phrase that Smith borrows in The Theory of Moral Sentiments,20 composed a little later than the History of Astronomy. The Moral Sentiments is much concerned with the role of the imagination in moral judgement, but there is one place where Smith also relates it to economics. This comes at the beginning of Part IV. Again Smith builds on a doctrine of Hume. Hume, he says, has explained the beauty of utility. The owner of a useful object receives aesthetic pleasure from it by being reminded of its convenience. A spectator receives similar pleasure by sympathy. We nd the palaces of the great beautiful because we imagine the satisfaction we would get if we owned and used them. Smith then adds his own contribution, that we often come to set a greater value on the convenient means than on the end which they were designed to promote. The poor mans son, whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition, goes beyond admiration of palaces to envy. He labours all his life to outdo his competitors, only to nd in the end that the rich are no happier than the poor in the things that really matter. And it is well that nature imposes on us in this manner. It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind. The individual does not reap for himself the full benet of his exertions; there is a benet to society at large, for the rich are led by an invisible hand to distribute much of their substance
204

among a circle of retainers, and so, without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species (TMS IV.1.810). Smith has an ambivalent attitude to this deception by nature or the imagination. On the one hand, he says it is a deception; the ambition of the poor mans son is unfortunate, a visitation of the anger of heaven, and is succeeded in the end by the discovery that power and riches afford little satisfaction and are dangerous. On the other hand, this realization of the truth is a splenetic philosophy that comes to us only in the languour of disease and the weariness of old age. In a normal healthy state we let our imagination run away with us, and this is just as well because the deception is useful to society and mankind. At any rate Smith is clear that it is a deception and that there is an alternative view which is true, though apparently less preferable. Would he say quite the same of Newtons scientic theory? He does imply that we are deceived in thinking the theory to be a discovery of truth and not just an invention of the imagination. But would he be ready to add that it is therefore false and that there is, or could be, an alternative theory which is true? Apparently not, for he puts all scientic theories in the same boat. Are there then no objective truths of astronomy to be discovered, or is the position rather that there are truths of nature but they cannot be discovered by man because he has to rely on his imagination? There is one important difference between Humes view of the external world and Adam Smiths view of Newtonian mechanics. Hume began his discussion by distinguishing two questions. We may well ask, What causes induce us to believe in the existence of body? but tis in vain to ask, Whether there be body or not? That is a point, which we must take for granted in all our reasonings. Smith has endeavoured to answer the Humean question. What causes induce us to believe in the existence of gravity? He would not, however, have added: But tis in vain to ask, Whether there be gravity or not? That is a point which we must take for granted in all our reasonings. Earlier theories of astronomy did not include a belief in gravity; and if anyone had suggested to Smith that a later theory might abandon Newtons concept of gravity and explain the observed facts in a different way, Smith would have agreed that this was quite possible. So although he is following Hume in the type of explanation that he gives, there is an important difference in their conclusions. In Smiths time it was a bold thing to say that Newtons mechanics was an invention of the imagination rather than a discovery of truth, but it was far less bold than Humes theory that belief in a continuing material world is due to ction by the imagination. Since past systems of astronomy had done without gravity, one could conceive that future systems might dispense with it. There is no analogue in a history of different systems of ordering common experience. The belief in continuing material bodies has not been preceded by one or more different ways of interpreting sense experience, in consequence of which we could conceive of yet another interpretation becoming standard at some future time. When Smith writes that scientists have imagined inventions he does not say they have invented science ctionor any other sort of ction. But he does contrast an invention by the imagination with a discovery of truth, and so he implies that scientic theory cannot be true. The constructions of scientic theory are like the constructions of perceptual belief in Humes theory
205

of the external world because both are intended to render coherent the data of experience. But they are also unlike in that one scientic theory is succeeded by another; and today we should be more ready than Adam Smith to think that the replacement of the currently favoured theory of physics or astronomy is not just possible but probable. The replacement of one theory by another is not always in order to accommodate new empirical facts. The new facts could often be accommodated within a revised, but more complicated, version of the old theory. The new theory may be preferred because it is simpler or because it can be connected more directly with the theory of a related branch of science. If so, the criteria for preference are quasilogical and aesthetic, like the criteria that shape the course of the imagination in Humes theory of the external world. Is it then proper to claim that the preferred theory is more true than its rival? In these days of relativity theory, physics itself seems to cast doubt on any idea of strictly objective truths in nature independent of observers at different points of space and time. Adam Smiths view of science appears more perceptive today than it will have done in the eighteenth century. Endnotes [1] For a related account of the views expressed in Sections IIV of this Introduction, see A. S. Skinner, Adam Smith: Science and the Role of the Imagination, in W. B. Todd, ed., Hume and the Enlightenment (1974). Much of Section V is drawn from part of a paper by D. D. Raphael previously printed (under the title The true old Humean philosophy and its inuence on Adam Smith) in G. P. Morice, ed., David Hume: Bicentenary Papers (1977) and now reproduced by permission of the Edinburgh University Press. [2] Smith has been seen by some commentators to have had something of a preoccupation with Descartes. See, for example, S. Moscovici, A propos de quelque travaux dAdam Smith sur lhistoire et la philosophie des sciences in Revue dHistoire des Sciences et de leurs Applications, ix (1956), section 3. [3] Letter 69 addressed to George Baird, dated Glasgow, 7 February 1763. [4] Interestingly enough, it is remarked in TMS IV.2.7 that: It is in the abstruser sciences, particularly in the higher parts of mathematics, that the greatest and most admired exertions of human reason have been displayed. [5] History of Economic Analysis (1954), 182. [6] This point is emphasized by Moscovici, op. cit., 5. [7] See J. F. Becker, Adam Smiths Theory of Social Science, Southern Economic Journal, xxviii (19612). [8] J. R. Lindgren considers that this point has often been given less than its due weight: The Social Philosophy of Adam Smith (1973), 6, and see generally chapter 1 together with the same authors Adam Smiths Theory of Inquiry, Journal of Political Economy, lxxvii (1969).

206

[9] Vernard Foley has emphasized the importance of classical sources, especially that of Aristotle, in this connection. The Social Physics of Adam Smith (1976), chap. 2. [10] For comment, see T. D. Campbell, Adam Smiths Science of Morals (1971), chap. 1. [11] The importance of aesthetic considerations is particularly noted by H. F. Thomson, Adam Smiths Philosophy of Science, Quarterly Journal of Economics, lxxix (1965). [12] Much later in the argument Smith provided an interesting explanation for such choices. The circle was used, he suggests, because it is of all curve lines the simplest and the most easily conceived (IV.51) while an equal motion can be more easily attended to, than one that is continually either accelerated or retarded (IV.52). [13] It is conceivable that Smiths knowledge of contemporary work in biology may have inuenced his historical outlook. See Skinner, op. cit., 1812. [14] A major direct inuence was probably Rousseau, whose work features in the Letter to the Edinburgh Review. [15] An Account of Sir Isaac Newtons Philosophical Discoveries (1748, ed. 3, 1775), 9. [16] Scottish Philosophy and British Physics, 17501880 (1975), 123. The hypothetical element in Smiths thought is also noted by Moscovici, op. cit. [17] Cf. Home, A Treatise of Human Nature, I.iii.x.1: But tho education be disclaimd by philosophy, as a fallacious ground of assent to any opinion, it prevails nevertheless in the world, and is the cause why all systems are apt to be rejected at rst as new and unusual. Humes inuence on Smith is the subject of the following section. [18] The Structure of Scientic Revolutions (1962). [19] Works, ed. Hamilton (1854), i.70. [20] Hume, Treatise (ed. SelbyBigge), 267; cf. 200, and illusion of the fancy, 314, 360: Smith, TMS III.2.4; cf. I.iii.2.2, II.i.5.11, IV.1.9.

207

2. Introduction to Works edited and introduced by W.P.D. Wightman [Astronomy, Ancient Physics, etc]
To the inquiring layman, Adam Smith was the author of the Wealth of Nations; to the philosopher, of a comparable classic, the Theory of Moral Sentiments; these were the only books published in his lifetime. Within ve years of his death (1790), however, appeared under the editorship of his two friends, Joseph Black and James Hutton, a substantial volume entitled Essays on Philosophical Subjects . . . to which is prexed an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author by Dugald Stewart. Though far less celebrated than the two major works the EPS nevertheless appeared during the next hundred years in at least eight editions, including one from Revolutionary Paris and one from Basel (see Bibliographical Note, Nos. 3, 4). In the present century the book has acquired a renewed interest, attention having been drawn principally to the rst three essays, consideration of which has formed the basis of a signicant secondary literature. The subject of each of these essays is the history of a branch of science, namely, of Astronomy, of the Ancient Physics, and of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics. Of these the rst alone is of any considerable length; the other two are hardly more than fragments. To none of them would a modern scholar turn for enlightenment on the history of the sciences; at most he could expect to discover what an outstanding mind living in the second half of the eighteenth century believed to represent the histories of these subjects. Wherein then lies the attraction to writers during recent decades? It lies in the full titles of the three essays: The Principles which lead and direct Philosophical Enquiries; illustrated by the History of Astronomy; the preamble is repeated before each of the other two histories. It might be conjectured from this that the rst three essays are to be taken rather as chapters in a book than as separate pieces; that such a conjecture might be correct is supported by the Advertisement of the editors in which they emphasize that though immediately before his death Smith had destroyed many other manuscripts, he had left these in the hands of his friends to be disposed of as they thought proper, and that on inspection the greater number of them appeared to be parts of a plan he once had formed, for giving a connected history of the liberal sciences and elegant arts but that he had long since found it necessary to abandon that plan as far too extensive. Though there is now no trace of the manuscripts on which the collection was based, we know from other sources that this is hardly an adequate account. of the allegedly projected history was to embrace the elegant arts why was the telling preamble to the rst three essays omitted from the remainder? To the modern reader it seems evident that whereas the former, inadequate though they may now appear, do conform to a unitary and highly signicant plan, the remainder, though not without their interesting features, are neither treated historically nor do they illustrate the principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiry. The editors, though in other respects men of high eminence, were not noted for scholarship as such. We must turn to other sources to discover what part the composition of these essays played in the authors intellectual scheme of things. Fortunately we do not have to look beyond the volume itself: the Essays were preceded by a long and detailed Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, read to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1793 and subsequently published in their Transactions. The author was Dugald Stewart, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh from 1785 to 1810, and
208

the editor of the rst Collected Works of Smith published in 181112. Towards the end of this Account is cited Smiths earliest reference to the EPS of which we have any knowledge; it was contained in letter (137) to David Hume dated Edinburgh, 16th. April 1773 when Smith was preparing to go to London where he expected to remain some time. In the expectation that Hume would in the event of his own earlier death act as his literary executor, Smith insisted that of all the papers he was about to leave behind 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 judgment; tho I begin to suspect myself that there is more renement than solidity in some parts of it. There is neither here nor anywhere else reference to other fragments such as the Ancient Physics and Ancient Logics that ultimately came to be published in the same volume as the Astronomy; the possible signicance of this omission will be discussed later (below, 267). In 1773 Smith was already fty; it is unlikely, therefore, that he would have referred to any work as juvenile except such as had been written many years earlier. This supposition receives some support from his asking (Astronomy, II.12) Why has the chemical philosophy in all ages crept along in obscurity, and been so disregarded by the generality of mankind . . . ? How Smith could have formed such a judgement nearly a century after the prominence of Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke at the Royal Society it is difcult to understand; but such an opinion would surely have been modied by intercourse with William Cullen with whom Smith is known1 to have been on intimate terms after he assumed the Glasgow Chair of Logic in 1751. Since by 1748, almost two years after relinquishing the Snell Exhibition at Balliol College, Oxford, he must have been heavily engaged in the preparation and reading of his lectures on belleslettres at Edinburgh, it has been fairly generally assumed that he at least laid the foundation of the History of Astronomy at Oxford; but from further internal evidence it may be inferred that he did not nish it there. Towards the end of the Astronomy Smith wrote that the observations of Astronomers at Lapland and Peru have fully conrmed Sir Isaacs system (IV.72); Bouguers account of his observations in Peru conrming Newtons model of the gure of the Earth was published in 1749three years after Smith left Balliol. The reader may have noticed a discrepancy between this reference to Sir Isaacs [Newton] system and (in the letter to David Hume) the description of the History as being of the astronomical systems that were successively in fashion down to the time of Descartes: the last ten pages of the original printed text are in fact devoted to establishing the superior genius and sagacity of Sir Isaac Newton. Relevant to this question is the editors terminal note: The Author, at the end of this Essay, left some Notes and Memorandums, from which it appears, that he considered this last part of his History of Astronomy as imperfect, and needing several additions. The Editors, however, chose rather to publish than to suppress it. It must be viewed, not as a History or Account of Sir Isaac Newtons Astronomy, but chiey as an additional illustration of those Principles in the Human Mind which Mr. Smith has pointed out to be the universal motives of Philosophical Researches.

209

This is consistent with the view put forward above that though the Astronomy may well have been largely composed in Oxford the last part of it could have been added after Smiths return to Scotland. That even this last part was written before 1758 appears from his statement (Astronomy, IV.74) that Newtons followers have, from his principles, ventured even to predict the returns of several of them [sc. comets], particularly of one which is to make its appearance in 1758. We must wait for that time . . .. Thus the text; a footnote on the same page reads: It must be observed, that the whole of this Essay was written previous to the date here mentioned; and that the return of the comet happened agreeably to the prediction. There is in the original text no indication as to who added this note; but P. Prevost, the translator of the French edition (see Bibliographical Note 3), describes the note as de lediteur anglais. Since Prevost was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and claimed to be personally acquainted with Dugald Stewart he may have had rsthand information. The apparent discrepancy in the letter to Hume disappears if it is recalled that Smith was expressing an opinion as to what of his literary remains might be worthy of publication: the Notes and Memorandums referred to in the editors nal note to the Astronomy, suggest that Smith was more than doubtful as to whether the last part should qualify. The period 17468 when Smith was residing at Kirkcaldy with his mother and before he was committed to the reading of lectures on Rhetoric and BellesLettres at Edinburgh would seem as likely as any for laying the foundation of a project on the scale that he is known to have envisaged. Whether the other two fragments were composed during that period is a matter of no special consequence; there would, at any rate, be no inconsistency in his having spoken more than once [and presumably much later] to Dugald Stewart of having projected, in the earlier part of his life, a history of the other sciences on the same plan (Stewart, II.52) and of his editors having referred to a plan he had once formed, for giving a connected history of the liberal sciences and elegant arts. There were, of course, neither then nor for a long time afterwards, any Faculties of Science in the Scottish universities and the boundary between arts and sciences was hardly, if at all, clearly drawn. Logics and Metaphysics are still mainly the concern of Faculties of Arts, as would also be the sort of ancient physics that Smith was describing in the essay so entitled. There is extant one other allusion by Smith which, though somewhat inconsistent with those that have been referred to, cannot be ignored in any attempt to date the composition of the EPS. It occurs in a letter (248) to the Duc de La Rochefoucauld written from Edinburgh in November 1785 but not published until 1895; the relevant section runs as follows: I have likewise two other great works upon the anvil; the one is a sort of Philosophical History of all the different branches of Literature, of Philosophy, Poetry and Eloquence; the other is a sort of theory and History of Law and Government. The materials of both are in a great measure collected, and some Part of both is put into tollerable good order. But the indolence of old age, tho I struggle violently against it, I feel coming fast upon me, and whether I shall ever be able to nish either is extremely uncertain.
210

Now whereas the description of the former of these other great works could well refer to the Histories of Astronomy, Ancient Physics, and Logics and Metaphysics included in the Essays on Philosophical Subjects, the remaining essays, though falling under the generous heading of Literature, Philosophy, Poetry and Eloquence, are almost wholly devoid of any reference to any historical development. Moreover, the limited range of topics hardly warrants the claim that the materials were in a great measure collected. In the tful light of such evidence as is now available it seems difcult to avoid the conclusion that after the exacting labour of the Wealth of Nations with its successive revisions Smiths great work on a sort of philosophical history existed more in the hope of realizing a youthful ambition than in any adequate progress towards its achievement.2 Fortunately the impossibility of any precise dating of its components does not preclude further fruitful consideration of the part this ambition continued to play in Smiths intellectual development. In 1755, four years after Smith had been appointed to the Glasgow Chair, he wrote the two wellknown letters to the Edinburgh Review. In the second of these letters Smith evidently considered himself so much a master of the state of the sciences in Europe as to include a critical review of the new French Encyclopedia (below, 2458); and though the modern reader will detect a certain degree of supercialitynot to say even contradictionin his judgements he had clearly a wideranging knowledge relevant to the task. Among the contributors he refers to many of them already known to foreign nations by the valuable works which they have published (Letter, 6)he singles out Mr. Alembert and Mr. Diderot and refers to the formers famous Discours prliminaire. A perusal of dAlemberts Discours reveals a strong resemblance to Smiths approach to the principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries. In his stress on what he called Smiths Theoretical or Conjectural History Dugald Stewart (II.49) expressed the view that the mathematical sciences, both pure and mixed, afford, in many of their branches, very favourable subjects for theoretical history; and he went on to note dAlemberts recommendation of this historical approach for teaching. More striking still, he follows this reference by instancing a passage in Montuclas Histoire des mathmatiques (Paris, 1758) which included long sections on mixed mathematics (viz. astronomy, mechanics, optics, and their applications) where an attempt is made to exhibit the gradual progress of philosophical speculation, from the rst conclusions suggested by a general survey of the heavens, to the doctrines of Copernicus. It is somewhat remarkable, that a theoretical history of this very science . . . was one of Mr. Smiths earliest compositions. Since Stewart shared with Smith the habit of almost total lack of signicant documentation, we do not know where he read dAlemberts reference to Montucla, but it obviously could not have been in the rst (1751) edition of the Encyclopdie, which we know to have been in Smiths hands before 1755. Although we can beyond all reasonable doubt reject any charge of plagiarism, there is nevertheless one feature in Smiths appreciation of the Encyclopdie that must strike us as rather odd: in acclaiming the outstanding quality of dAlemberts contributions he makes no mention of the strong afnity between the latters views on the nature, signicance, and enlargement of philoso-

211

phy and those we believe he had already set forth in the historical essays. Smiths review of the Encyclopdie was part of the evidence he submitted to the Authors of the newly founded Edinburgh Review in support of the proposal that they should enlarge the scope of their Review to include not only English but also European letters. Is it not a matter for some surprise that a young man, little more than thirty, recently established as the leading philosophical teacher in a small but ancient university, should not in such circumstances have at least briey impressed upon the Review the universal signicance of the Discours prliminaire? DAlembert, though only six years older than Smith, was already accepted as one of the most brilliant analytical and comprehensive of European minds: a mathematician of the rst rank, who appreciated both the power of mathematics and its limitations as a mode for philosophy in general, and whose concern for this philosophy was primarily in its signicance for human welfare. The broad agreement of the views of such an authority with this juvenile plan would, one might have supposed, have prompted Smith to a more enthusiastic welcome to the Discours than that Mr. Alembert gives an account of the connection of the different arts and sciences, their genealogy and liation, as he calls it; which, a few alterations and corrections excepted, is nearly the same with that of my Lord Bacon (Letter, 6). It is perhaps necessary to emphasize that the broad agreement in the views of Smith and dAlembert was mainly (as noted above) in respect of their approach. A review of the details of their argument would here be out of place; but one especially marked difference in their emphasis may be the clue to the puzzle: it is that whereas Smith sets so much store on wonder and surprise (below, 1314), dAlembert, following Bacon, stresses the greater signicance of need and use in discoverya position that the author of the Wealth of Nations as dogmatically rejects (Astronomy, III.3). Could it have been that the juvenile author of the Essays on Philosophical Subjects held his horses in the hope that an opportunity would later present itself for the systematic refutation of a theory whose wrongheadedness he evidently deplored? Though this account of the circumstances of time, place, and purpose of the composition of the EPS has been if not wholly negative at least mainly conjectural, it may have given some insight into the nature of the undertaking and the reason for its continued interest to scholars. Reference to dAlemberts Discours has shown that Smiths attempt at conjectural history was no isolated phenomenon; Dugald Stewart claims that the expression . . . coincides pretty nearly in its meaning with that of Natural History, as employed by Mr. Hume [i.e. The Natural History of Religion, 1757], and with what some French writers have called Histoire Raisonne (Stewart, II.48). Among examples of the latter he names Montesquieus Esprit des lois (1748). The title of that great work is itself indicative of what many writers were doing at that time: Paul Hazard reminds us of the numerous attempts to distil the Esprit of this, that, and the other; frequently by means of a search for the origin and growth of the science or art concerned. The Encyclopdie was not the rst to envisage this task: something of the same sort had appeared in Ephraim Chamberss relatively concise Cyclopaedia; or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728), but never before had it been accomplished in such a penetrating manner or on such an immense scale.

212

The History of Astronomy The importance of this essay to modern scholars lies mainly in the preamble and the rst three sections; these contain a statement and elaboration of the chief principles that Smith believed to lead and direct philosophical enquiries. The History of Astronomy sensu stricto, that begins only in Section IV, is of interest partly as an indication of contemporary knowledge of the subject, but mainly for the incidental remarks made by the author in pursuance of his central aim. Though acceptable to a modern historian in its main lines, it contains so many errors of detail and not a few serious omissions as to be no longer more than a museum specimen of its kind. This is not to deny its high merit for an age when systematic study of the history of the sciences was in its infancy. But by 1758 a student would have been better advised to read Jeantienne Montuclas Histoire des mathmatiques (written incidentally in the enlightened spirit characteristic of the young Adam Smith) which by 1802 had been revised and extended by Jrme de Lalande. The rst history of astronomy still used as an important work of reference was completed by JeanBaptisteJoseph Delambre in 1827. In any attempt to assess the success of Smiths enterprise we are met at the outset by his inconsistent and illdened terminology philosophy is the science . . . Philosophy . . . may be regarded as one of those arts . . . (both in Astronomy, II.12). In fact the terms philosophy, physics, arts, sciences, and natural philosophy are used almost indiscriminately. In this of course he was not alone: Hume (Treatise of Human Nature, Introduction) speaks of philosophy and the sciences, which seems to promise a distinction more in line with modern usage; but by including Natural Religion and Criticism among the sciences he introduced a possible source of confusion. The actual words natural science in the sense of an inquiry by reason alone into all things in the natural kingdom of God were rst used by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan; but natural philosophy was preferred (though not in the restricted sense still current in the Scottish universities) throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The rst demarcation between science and art is attributed by the Oxford English Dictionary to Richard Kirwan: Previous to the year 1780 mineralogy tho tolerably understood as an art could scarcely be termed a science (1796). James Hutton about the same time wrote that philosophy must proceed in generalising those truths which are the objects of particular sciences. In respect of the recent blossoming of the socalled social sciences the failure of English to distinguish the species Naturwissenschaft from the genus Wissenschaft has become even more embarrassing than heretofore. Had Smith consistently used philosophy to include natural philosophy, leaving it to the context to indicate whether the general term or the specic application was concerned, there could, in relation to the period, be no quarrel. When he writes (Astronomy, IV.18) Philosophers, long before the days of Hipparchus [c. 140 b.c.], seem to have abandoned the study of nature . . . and to have regarded all mathematicians, among whom they counted astronomers with supercilious and ignorant contempt his usage (whatever we may think of his judgement) was in general accord with ancient and medieval practice. In the Middle Ages the interpretation of philosophy varied from one university to another. Roughly speaking when the trivium was enlarged under the term studia humanitatis (and in many

213

cases the quadrivium, as such, disappeared in practice), philosophy meant moral philosophy. Mathematics and astronomy, together with natural philosophy (more often called physics), became mainly the concern of the Faculty of Medicine; this was especially the case in the Italian universities. But Smiths judgement cited above follows a brief account of the epicyclic and eccentric systems of planetary motion by which those philosophers (IV.9) imagined they could account for the apparently unequal velocities of all those bodies. Who are those philosophers? It was, we are told, Apollonius (IV.8) who invented the system and Hipparchus who afterwards perfected it. Apollonius was a mathematician of the calibre of Eudoxus and Euclid; Hipparchus pioneered the branch of mathematics that came long afterwards to be known as spherical trigonometry and he was also among the greatest observers of all time. Most of the astronomical works of each were irretrievably lost; but to neither is any interest in philosophy attributeda fact at which Smith himself hints in another context (Astronomy, IV.25) where he speaks of the philosophy of Aristotle, and the astronomy of Hipparchus. The precise distinction made by the Greeks themselves will be cited in the Introduction to the essay on The Ancient Physics. It would of course be absurd to demand precisely demarcated categories which would only stie attempts to reveal latent relationships. But that in relation to the age of Adam Smith there are traps easily fallen into is shown by a recent comment3 that Smith referred to Isaac Newton as a philosopher not scientist. From Smiths use of the term in this context nothing can be inferred, since the word scientist did not exist before 1839. The use of such expressions as Adam Smiths philosophy of science may similarly be a source of confusion; better to risk a charge of repetitiveness and pedantry than that of circularity; each reference must be explicated on its own merits. This caveat has an indirect bearing on the introductory sections of the Astronomy. Smiths aim in this and the succeeding essays was to show how these histories illustrate the principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries. Having in the rst three paragraphs given the barest hint of the relevance of surprise and wonder to these principles he reviews at what may seem inordinate length the inuence of the sentiments of surprise and wonder on the emotions of joy, grief, panic, frenzy, etc. The modern reader, especially one unfamiliar with the pervasive signicance accorded to the passions by Smith and his contemporaries, may feel puzzled to know what all this has to do with the clearly expressed aim of the essays. Smith might have been wise to recall Bacons words that such observations are well inquired and collected in metaphysic, but in physic they are impertinent (Advancement of Learning II.vii.7). But after a dozen pages the rhetorical fog lifts: the surprise excited in the observer by the motion of a piece of iron without any visible impulse, in consequence of the motion of a loadstone at some little distance from it and the wonder how it came to be conjoined to an event with which, according to the ordinary train of things, he could have so little suspected it to have any connection (II.6) establish the thesis in the clearest possible manner. The further deployment of the thesis, even if unnecessarily prolonged, displays Smiths elegant and imaginative style at its best. Had he but set his own words philosophy is the science of the connecting principles of nature at the beginning instead of near the end, and then avoided the trap in the illdened term philosophy, this section might well have ranked as the most fundamental in the whole work. Though not free from confusion,
214

the concluding pages of this section reveal in greater emphasis Smiths principles of philosophical enquiries. Central among these is an interpretation of causal investigation as a search for a bridge; the examples here are much more convincing. The special characteristics of this bridge or chain are analogy to more familiar objects, coherence, andof special signicance for the modern scholarwithout regarding their absurdity or probability, their agreement or inconsistency with truth and reality (II.12). This remarkable passage is our justication for caution in speaking about what has been called Smiths philosophy of science. For Smith himself who, as we have seen, denes philosophy as the science of the connecting principles of nature the term could have no clear connotation; nor could it for anyone until the term science was restricted to what Smith is here calling philosophy. There is still no general agreement as to the range of the philosophy of science; but that it is essentially metascience, or talk about science, would probably not be contested. Of this there could not in Smiths time be any explicit recognition. No doubt the study of his enterprise will shed light on the nature of the problems to be talked about; but in respect of its systems his inquiry was less about their truth than about how far each of them was tted to sooth(e) the imagination, and to render the theatre of nature a more coherent, and therefore a more magnicent spectacle, than otherwise it would have appeared to be (ibid.). This has certainly a modern ring about it; but a modern philosophy of science that thus ignored the problem of truth would get rather a cold reception. It is thus less the philosophy of science than the history of the idea of the philosophy of science that Smiths enterprise is likely to illuminate.4 The dubious historiography and scrappy exposition of Section IIIOf the Origin of Philosophyare characteristic of the Age of Reason: imaginative liveliness creates a colourful stage upon which the drama of Western culture is to take its rise. Regrettably imagination5 aided and abetted but not controlled by reason takes command; and what was in the circumstances inevitably no more than a likely story is presented with a degree of nave dogmatism and assurance that would be beguiling if it had not engendered distorted attitudes in the long shadows of which we are still living. The danger of conjectural history is thus made only too plain; justication of this rather critical assessment may most suitably wait on textual commentary. In Section IV we are plunged rather abruptly into The History of Astronomy proper: abruptly, since Smith has already stated that it is from Plato and Aristotle that he will begin to give her history in any detail. The highly complex and mathematically beautiful system of Eudoxus is thus made to appear fully formed like Pallas from the head of Zeus. For his purpose Smith is perhaps justied in thus proceeding; but not to emphasize the extreme unlikelihood of such a creation without a long preparation of accurate observation and critical correlation is to risk begging the whole question of the genesis of philosophical inquiry. Once launched, however, on the exposition of the rst regular system of Astronomy (Astronomy, IV.4) he moves, not indeed with complete mastery, but with a remarkable degree of precision and understanding. Since among the readers of this edition there may be some wholly unfamiliar with the rationale of this system it may be as well to give a necessarily somewhat simplied but also more concise account

215

of it than Smith provides; to facilitate crossreference this will be set out in a somewhat schematic form. The celestial phenomena (appearances) were either relatively transitory (e.g. meteors) or eternal; comets, remaining visible for months, were the subjects of some controversy. The eternal bodies, with seven notable exceptions, were xed in space relative to each other. The exceptionsSun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (to give them their Latinized names)were all called planets or wandering stars, since their positions varied continuously both with respect to each other and to the pattern of the xed stars. All the visible objects were seen to move in circles round the Earth in a time constituting a day. The various minor discrepancies among the planets were accounted for by assuming additional circular motions superimposed upon the uniform daily rotation. The xed stars were thus regarded as being carried round by the rotation of the celestial sphere whose axis, since many of them periodically rose in the east and set in the west, was held to be variously inclined to the surface of the Earth. Contrary to the belief still held in some quarters, the at Earth had been generally abandoned about a century earlier, and, though reintroduced to conform to biblical cosmology, was probably never again seriously considered among men having any pretension to astronomical knowledge. Since the Sun and Moon are seen to make a circuit of the stellar sphere once in roughly 365 and 29 days respectively, the motion of each was regarded as being compounded of that of the stellar sphere and that of a second sphere whose axis was inclined to that of the steller; in the case of the Sun the equator of the second sphere was called the ecliptic, and the latters obliquity represents the observed progressive changes in the Suns altitude in the course of the year. A third sphere had to be added to account for a further minor irregularity in the observed motion. The Moons observed motion resisted any adequate representation; it was one of the few problems that gave Newton a headache 2,000 years later. The motions of the remaining planets were partially accounted for by supposing them to share the daily and (approximate) annual motion of the Suns two spheresthe third was peculiar to the Sun. But these ve bodiesand very obviously those that were believed to be always further from the Earth than is the Sunpossessed a characteristic irregularity of apparently coming to a halt, and then roughly retracing their paths to a second point before once more proceeding in the general direction. These meaningless stations and retrogradations of each of these planets were saved by the ingenious device of xing each planet on a sphere, the poles of whose axis were also xed on the surface of the surrounding sphere to whose axis their axes were inclined; and at the same time supposing them to rotate in the opposite sense, each at a characteristic rate different from that of the surrounding sphere. The process could be repeated, and the inclinations and relative rates of rotation varied, to give the closest possible approximation to the appearances. All this is set out by Smith with only relatively minor historical inaccuracies; but he does not here make clear that the constant and equable motions reported by reliable commentators to

216

have been demanded by Plato were in fact uniform angular motion in perfectly circular paths. Nor, though he has his own view as to the human urge to see coherence and a continuous chain in natural phenomena, does he comment on Platos postulates in at opposition to the evidence of the senses, except in respect of the daily revolution. Plato discussed these questions in several dialogues, and his nal vision of the cosmos (if he did in fact ever arrive at one) is still a matter of controversy. But his guiding principle, from which he made no fundamental departure, was that the visible heavens have the same relation to things divine as they really exist as do geometrical gures to those truths of reason that they are made to represent. In proceeding from the concentric systems of Eudoxus to the excentric (and epicyclic) systems that permanently superseded it among the Greeks, Smith missed two points of fundamental importance to his principles that lead and direct philosophical investigation. The rst was that Aristotles addition of twentytwo spheres had nothing to do with the insufciency of the spheres to represent the motions; the reason was what we should call a philosophical demand for a physical coherence: the additional spheres were so intercalated as to prevent the characteristic motion of each of the planets from being transmitted to the remainder. Another serious physical discrepancy apparently rst observed by Autolycus of Pitane but not by Aristotle, was the fact that no system of spheres concentric with the Earth could conceivably account for the marked changes in the apparent size of e.g. Mars and Venus, implying variation in their distances from the Earth. The contrast between astronomy and physics sketched by Aristotle, well known to the Middle Ages and Renaissance through the Commentaries of Simplicius, but apparently lost sight of later until stressed by Paul Duhem in his , will be discussed more at large in the Introduction to the Ancient Physics. The rst step towards the epicyclic (and incidentally towards the Copernican) theory of planetary motion was taken by Heracleides of Pontus, who, noting the fact that neither Mercury nor Venus is ever seen far from the Sun as the latter makes its annual circuit of the heavens, put forward the hypothesis that the circular paths of the former bodies were centred at the Sun, not the Earth. A century later, when Alexandria had replaced Athens as the centre of Greek culture, this hypothesis was extended by Aristarchus of Samos to include all the planets, of which he regarded the Earth instead of the Sun to be one. This revolutionary hypothesis, in which the diurnal rotation of the Earth (already assumed by Heracleides) was also adopted, was summarily rejected by his contemporaries. Nevertheless, since their imaginative leaps achieved the essential basis of that of Copernicus, the omission by Smith of any mention of these two men is quite unaccountable. Though no motion of the Earth was acceptable to astronomers until the time of Copernicus, and even then but tardily, the concept of epicyclic motion (i.e. the circular motion of a body about another body itself describing a circle about a third) rapidly achieved a dominating inuence and received a denitive form in the Almagest of Ptolemy (c.a.d. 150). Stripped down to the barest essentials this system was based on the following postulates: (i) The Earth is the centre of the world.

217

(ii) The Sun moves at a uniform rate on a circle (the eccentric) whose centre is somewhat distant from the Earth. (iii) The remaining planets (except the Moon) move on circles (epicycles) whose centres move on larger circles (deferents) centred at the eccentric; but the planets themselves are represented as moving at a uniform rate round a separate point (equant) on the side of the eccentric remote from the Earth. (iv) The Moons motion is especially anomalous. The eccentric and epicycle had been elaborated by earlier astronomers, notably Hipparchus (c. 170 b.c.), but the equant point, concerned not with the shape but with the rate of planetary movement, was the creation of Ptolemy himself. Since their concern was to provide a mathematical model for forecasting celestial events, the Alexandrian (Hellenistic) astronomers took no account of the existence of spheres. The later Islamic astronomers, strongly inuenced by Aristotelian and later physics, devised means of harmonizing epicyclic and eccentric motion with concentric celestial spheres. This mode of thought achieved its ultimate renement in the theory of Georg (of) Peurbach. The socalled Copernican Revolution was in fact a retrogression to ancient principles buttressed by superior mathematical technique and the less parochial world view characteristic of the Renaissance. Far from being technically modern, the system of Copernicus was in some respects retrograde in the pejorative sense; this judgement does not detract from the dedication and intellectual courage of the man himself. By one of those paradoxes that the history of science displays from time to time, Tycho Brahe, the great restorer of the science of the heavens as Smith describes him, spent his life and fortune (aided by royal patronage on a lavish scale) in assembling the data enabling Ioannes Kepler to demolish both his own extension of the system of Heracleides and the details of the Copernican system. Tychos model, postulating a heliocentric system of all the planets, the Sun and Moon alone describing circles about the Earth, was mathematically equivalent to that of Copernicus, at the same time avoiding any affront to the physical prejudices of the age, still predominantly Aristotelian. Endowed with a spirit in which intense religious feeling, high poetic fancy, and unswerving intellectual integrity were combined to a degree probably unsurpassed in any man before or since, Kepler made the rst and nal break with the Platonic postulates of equable circular motion for celestial bodies. It is the Sun, not the Earth, around which the planets describe the only discoverable simple curvenot a circle, but an ellipse; and it is the Sun that determines, in a degree corresponding to the harmonics of the diatonic scale, the speed with which they move in the paths appointed by God. Stripped of the overtones that Kepler himself regarded as his supreme act of praise to the living God, his three6 laws are the basis of the modern astronomy of the solar system. Within the limits of the available knowledge Smiths account of the revolution in astronomical thought effected by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler displays remarkable understanding; there is however one misleading feature in his expositionthe statements (Astronomy, IV.29,32) that the Copernican system has no need of epicycles. It is indeed true that each of these statements is made in the context of the apparent shape of the planetary motions, but not
218

many paragraphs later it is made clear that in order to rid his system of the incoherence of the equant point (IV.53) Copernicus had in fact been compelled to employ a number of epicycles. One of Keplers earliest discoveries was that the motion of the Earth demanded just such an equant point: it is of course a mathematical dodge to represent the hitherto unthinkable fact that the planets move faster when near the Sun than when more remote. Smiths account is further notable for having stressed the possibly decisive nature of Galileos telescopic observationsthe rough surface of the Moon, the satellites of Jupiter, sunspots, and the phases of Venusall phenomena that could appeal to a wide audience, thus enlisting a wider support for the Copernican hypothesis than Copernicuss own dry mathematical exposition would have done. Smiths claim that the latter was adopted . . . by astronomers only (IV.36), though qualied on the next page, gives a misleading impression of the situation. This and some relatively minor points are more conveniently dealt with in footnotes to the text. The confused state of astronomy during the rst half of the seventeenth century was just such as to give point to Smiths principle that discovery is the fruit of a search for a connecting chain of intermediate objects to link together . . . discordant qualities (IV.60)in this case the immensity of the celestial bodies and the hardly conceivable speeds with which they are hurled round the Sun. The gap left in the imagination by a purely mathematical model, however subtle and however accurately representative of the facts, received expression in the full title of Keplers Astronomia Nova. The physical or if you will metaphysical element in his system was supplied by a supposed magnetic radiation emitted by the Sun as it rotated, thus maintaining the revolutions of the planets at varying speeds. That doctrine, wrote Smith, like almost all those of the philosophy in fashion during his time, bestowed a name upon this invisible chain, called it an immaterial virtue, but afforded no determinate idea of what was its nature. (Astronomy, IV.60.) In an age dominated by Newtons proper rejection of occult causes such a reaction was inevitable. But it is not the whole story. Keplers magnetic virtue was more than a name; in fact magnetism was not, in the distinction made by Newton, an occult but a manifest quality. The fact that it is a different manifest qualitygravitationthat was later shown to be the controlling factor between Sun and planets does not detract from Keplers recognition that a chain must exist. In his second letter to Richard Bentley, Newton emphasized that the cause of gravity is what I do not pretend to know. Smith and his clearsighted contemporaries failed to realize that the greatest creative advances in the search for the invisible chain have seldom been free from the wildest guesses. The rst who attempted to ascertain, precisely, wherein this invisible chain consisted, and to afford the imagination a train of intermediate events, . . . was, Smith justly states, Descartes (Astronomy, IV.61). The details of the Cartesian system fortunately do not concern us. But Smith shows remarkable sagacity in emphasizing that it was he (and not, as is still occasionally stated, Galileo) who stated three propositions that jointly imply Newtons First Law of Motion; that his notion of Gods conservation of the quantity of motion in the universe (IV. 61) made a notable advance towards Newtons Second Law; and that he was among the rst of the moderns, who . . . took away the boundaries of the Universe. Not surprisingly Smith nowhere shows any knowledge of the wideranging mathematical speculation of the fteenthcentury Cardinal Nicholas
219

of Cues (whom Kepler called divine), nor of the limited publication of Thomas Diggess theory of stellar distribution in depth; but his omission of any reference to the illsupported but widely publicized plurality of worlds afrmed by Giordano Bruno is less easy to excuse. His lengthy treatment of Descartes in a history of astronomy, Smith claims, is justied less by his theory of the heavens that by the time Smith was writing was almost entirely abandoned, than by his demonstration that a coherent system of the world could be based on simple mechanical principles applicable to both celestial and terrestrial bodies. This was a radical departure from the natural philosophy still dominant in the schools: Samuel Pepys was so vexed to discover that his younger brother, Johns, knowledge of physiques was based on Descartes instead of Aristotle that he decided to nd out what it is that he has studied since his going to the University. So far as physiques were concerned both Samuel and John were wasting their time; for in the same year a young sizar of Trinity College in the same university of Cambridge was also giving less than satisfaction in his undergraduate studies. But within three years he was to think of extending gravity to the orbe of the Moon. Cambridge was slow to appreciate the tremendous revolution that the young Lucasian Professor of Mathematics proceeded to hatch within its walls; but a few years after its publication (1687under the imprimatur of Samuel Pepys P.R.S.!) the elements of Newtons Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica were being introduced to the students of the University of Edinburgh by David Gregory. Despite the lack of any break in the narrative, it seems most probable that it was at this point (Astronomy, IV.67) that Smiths original manuscript ended and the remainder was added at some later date (above, 78). About Smiths account of the Newtonian system, which, despite his doubts, stands least in need of correction at the present day, little need be said. It is clearly written and includes all the verications available by the middle of the eighteenth century. It is doubtful whether he had ever studied the Principia at that time. Voltaires Elemens de la philosophie de Neuton had been published in London by 1737, and, if this section was in fact written some years after the rest of the essay, Colin Maclaurins Account of Sir Isaac Newtons Philosophical Discoveries would have been available to him after 1748; of course he may have been sufciently well grounded in the qualitative aspects before leaving Glasgow. The only disconcerting feature of his account, taken as a contribution to the principles of philosophical investigation, is the facile manner in which he accepts gravitation as an adequate explanation of the mutually determined motions of the celestial bodies, simply on the grounds that it has always been familiar to men on the Earth. Taken in conjunction with his remarks (Astronomy, IV.61) in hailing Descartes as having been the rst to attempt to ascertain, precisely, wherein this invisible chain consisted, this must be regarded as a serious deciency. It betrays a strange lack of awareness of the fact that what he saw as so familiar a principle of connection, which completely removed all the difculties the imagination had hitherto felt in attending to them [sc. planetary motions] (IV.67), many continental philosophers, notably Leibniz, regarded as either a miracle or a blasphemy. The root of their objections was that celestial gravitation, unlike the familiar form, must be held to act instantaneously across immense distances. Moreover, since the planets showed no sign of slowing down as a result of

220

external resistance, there could be no material medium to transmit the gravitational inuence. Such an action at a distance must be regarded as either an inexplicable miracle or an occult property of matter itself. Neither solution was acceptable: not the former, since it removed the question entirely from the realm of natural philosophy; nor the latter, since it reintroduced the specic occult qualities postulated by the Aristotelians, which as Newton himself later remarked put a stop to the improvement of natural philosophy (Opticks, Q.30). This fundamental dilemma, and much else of a more technical nature, was ventilated in the famous LeibnizClarke Correspondence rst published in 1707. Newton, on whose behalf (and at the instigation of Princess Caroline) Clarke replied to Leibniz, showed his recognition of the difculties by adding to the second edition of the Principia (1713) the famous General Scholium containing the even more famous (and misunderstood) phrase Hypotheses non ngo, and by his letters to the Master of Trinity, Richard Bentley, in one of which he explicitly denied that gravity is essential and inherent to matter. Newton was fully aware of the lack of nality in his System of the World and returned to the question several times; but since Smith was apparently unaware of this, it would be inappropriate to enter into the inevitably long and difcult discussion here. The History of the Ancient Physics and the History of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics The History of Astronomy, though naturally imperfect, was in a sense complete. After the second edition of Newtons Principia there was no fundamental change or addition to the system of the world, that was Smiths main concern, until long after his death. The mathematical theory was under constant renement; and Smith shows his continuing interest in the progress of physical astronomy when in the Edinburgh Review article he refers to James Bradleys important discovery of the aberration of light. But the titles of the two subsequent essays suggest that the restriction to the ancient period expressed the fact that he had said all that he intended to say. The two essays now to be considered, though like that on the History of Astronomy both written with an eye to philosophical investigation, are in a different class from the rst. The title of each reveals a subtle change of aim: the histories of these sciences are to be restricted to their ancient development. For this and other reasons that will appear during the discussion it is convenient to introduce them under a single heading. To a greater extent than in the history of astronomy his account of the facts of preSocratic physics is not only without adequate historical foundation but lacks any historical coherence other than that imposed by Smiths own likely story, namely that from arranging and methodizing the System of the Heavens, Philosophy descended to the consideration of the inferior parts of Nature (Ancient Physics, 1). There neither is, nor ever was, as far as we know, any evidence for this order of inquiry; on the contrary, Aristotle rightly referred to his predecessors as those who strove to account for nature, which for them was the whole cosmos. Their speculations about the objects above the Earth in fact lacked any arrangement or methodizing: they remained crude and illsupported by reason. The views on the elements (, Aristotle calls them), on the other hand, put forward separately by the Ionian pioneers embodied a profound insight into the problem of the relation be-

221

tween change and the permanent ground of being. Only later did the Italian, Empedocles, order the elements in such a manner as to make possible the even later square of opposite properties introduced by Aristotle. As has been hinted already, Smith never made explicit the cardinal distinction between physics and astronomya distinction that in fact guided and directed philosophical enquiry from Aristotle onwards, and which, in somewhat altered terms, is still a living issue in the philosophy of science, notably in the interpretation of quantum mechanics. The basic formulation has never been more clearly put than by the sixthcentury Neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on Aristotles Physics, and in which he claims to be quoting the actual words of Geminus summarizing the views of the Stoic Poseidonius, both of them having lived much nearer to the time of Aristotle. After a long and detailed preamble he emphasized that while the physicist will in many cases, reach the cause by looking to creative force, it is no part of the business of the astronomer to know what is by nature suited to a position of rest and what sort of bodies are apt to move, but he introduces hypotheses under which some bodies remain xed while others move, and then considers to which hypotheses the phenomena actually observed in the heaven will correspond.7 The astronomer, in other words, is satised if, given certain physical postulates, such as equable motion, he can devise a mathematical scheme from which the motions of the heavenly bodies can be deduced; the question of truth has for him, qua astronomer, no relevance. In the History of Astronomy (notably in the introductory Section II) Smith shows his appreciation of this aspect of philosophical investigation. But his failure to explicate the notion of cause, latent in the various preSocratic speculations and dominating Aristotles whole philosophy, reduces his Ancient Physics, despite its elegant and persuasive presentation of certain aspects, to a much lower level of cogency. Detailed justication for this judgement would here be out of place; sufce it to say that the reader of the text will nd no hint of the pervasive notion of nal causation and the grades of animation (the Latin anima replaced in the transmission of the Aristotelian corpus) in living beings. Having momentarily forgotten his most promising hypothesis that philosophical enquiries stem from surprise and wonder Smith opens the essay on the History of the Ancient Logics and Metaphysics with a liberal application of the term evident to assumptions that to thinkers in another tradition seem far from evident. This apart, however, he rightly insists that philosophy, . . . in considering the general nature of Water, takes no notice of those particularities which are peculiar to this Water, but connes itself to those things which are common to all water. From which it follows that Species, or Universals, and not Individuals, are the objects of Philosophy ( 1). In the succeeding passage, amounting to little more than twenty lines, Smith condenses all that he has to say on the relation between the ancient sciences of logics and metaphysics. Restricted to such a compass his account of what came to be regarded as logic and metaphysics might do well enough, though the exclusive emphasis on classication is hardly warranted. But viewed as a stage in the achievement of his historical aim it is quite inadequate. In claiming with some justice that these two sciences seem, before the time of Aristotle, to have been regarded as one and, with less justice, to have made up between them that ancient Dialectic of which we hear so much, and of which we understand so little (Ancient Logics, 1) Smith gives no hint that
222

and its derivatives covered a huge range of meaning as much to do with words as with reasoning; nor that the term metaphysics came only long after Aristotles death to refer to those of his books which embodied a consideration of those causes and principles the knowledge of which constitutes WisdomFirst philosophy as Aristotle himself described it. The throwaway comment on the ancient Dialectic may have been prompted by Smiths native caution: the subtle and even inconsistent use of the term by Plato and Aristotle is still the subject of scholarly debate. The inappropriateness of the remark becomes even more remarkable in the light of the following denition proposed by the Stranger from Elea: Dividing according to kinds, not taking the same Form for a difference or a different one for the sameis not that the business of the science of Dialectic? (Plato, Sophist, 253 D.) This division by kinds is precisely the method that Smith himself regarded as being the essence of the ancient logics and one of which he himself makes frequent use. This account of dialectic differs from the more basic requirement stipulated by Socrates (i.e. the effort to attain truth by correction of agreed hypotheses rather than the confutation of an adversary) but is not inconsistent with it. Equally regrettable is Smiths failure to make clear, as Aristotle had, that the preSocratic (as Aristotle calls them) were asking metaphysical questions but for the most part (Parmenides being clearly an exception) giving physical answers. The part of the essay devoted to an exposition of Platos attitude to Nature and its relation to the general theory of Ideas, though disproportionately long, is almost the only part that carries conviction that the author had adequately prepared himself for the ambitious task he had undertaken. But even here he fails to drive home the lesson, so important for his own thesis, that what Plato was for the most part concerned with, even in the dialogue that looks like natural philosophy, the Timaeus, is perhaps not even metaphysics, but rather natural theology as it was perhaps understood in the original scheme for the Gifford Lectures. This was far from being without inuence on the development of natural philosophy and subsequently of the natural sciences; but by placing cause and principle of nature as it were outwith nature and providing only a likely story of how it () might have operated, Plato effectively closed the door on further investigation on the lines initiated by the . Or rather he would have closed it, had not his independentminded pupil, Aristotle, put his foot in the doorwayat least for the sublunary world! At this stage some readers may reasonably protest that it is an editors function at most to comment on the text and not to argue with its author. To leave without qualication the rather disparaging remarks which this editor has felt it necessary to make would amount to a failure to view the matter in that historical perspective for the lack of which Smith has been censured. Well versed in the classical tongues as the young Adam Smith undoubtedly was, he cannot be blamed for having failed to transcend the limitations set by the materials available to him. And these were meagre indeed, for though we may think of the eighteenth century as one in which classical scholarship was most highly appreciated and familiarity with the classical authors more widely spread than perhaps at any other time, it is apt to be forgotten that both scholarship and familiarity were almost wholly restricted to grammatical and stylistic aspects; it is probable that Smiths contemporaries were far less conversant with the matter of the Greek classics than had been the
223

humanists of three centuries earlier. In his valuable Greek Studies in England, 17001830 (1945) (which in fact includes a knowledgeable chapter on Scotland) M. L. Clarke states that the undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge read only a few isolated dialogues of Plato and learned nothing of his philosophical theories. Before 1759 there was no English translation, except of the Phaedo, to which the Scottish scholar, Spens, added the Republic only in 1763. Aristotle was in like case. Smiths dismissal (Astronomy, III.6) of the Ionian on the ground that the extant accounts represent the doctrines of those sages as full of the most inextricable confusion is of a piece with Clarkes judgment that of the remarkable speculations of the preSocratics there was no appreciation (op. cit., 114); he would have had to rely upon Aristotles biased views put forward in the Metaphysics. In respect of Logics he was presumably the victim of the trivialization of Aristotles logic, unavoidable if it was to be taught to the lower end of the teenage stream! His point of view (putting objects into the right classes) seems to be based on the Topics, even perhaps mediated through Ramism; but of the structure of inference as expounded by Aristotle himself in the two Analytics he gives no hint. If this conditioning was effected at Glasgow it would not have been unique; it is only in our time (by Jan Lukasiewicz and others) that the modernity of Aristotles canon has been made generally known. Smith was also unlucky in setting forth on this immensely ambitious endeavour at a time when Giambattista Vicos principles of critical historiography based on critical philology (Scienza Nuova, 172544) were still wholly unappreciated outside Italy. Nevertheless, when all allowance has been made for the handicaps under which Smith must have laboured when composing these juvenile historical pieces, there remains an air of brashness about the two (presumably) later ones that provokes the question whether the author of the Theory of Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations would have countenanced their publication in the form in which he had left them. It is true that as late as November 1785, in the letter (248) to Rochefoucauld referred to above, the sort of Philosophical History he mentions as still being upon the anvil must have been at least based on the great work mentioned in the letter to Hume twelve years earlier. But in that letter he expressly stated that none of his papers were worth publishing except a fragmentthe history of the astronomical systemsand even that one he suspected contained more renement than solidity. How much more apposite would this judgment be of the two subsequent essays! In view of his repeated requestas he neared his endfor assurance that his papers had been destroyed, it seems more than a little doubtful whether his editors were not doing his memory a disservice in making public these two essays without a more extensive caveat than the rather fulsome and misleading last sentence of their Advertisement.

224

3. Bibliographical Note
The survey on which this Note has been based was restricted to the following institutions: British Library (BL), National Library of Scotland (NLS), Bodleian (O), Cambridge University (C), Trinity College, Dublin (D), and the four Scottish universities existing before the recent expansion: St. Andrews (StA), Glasgow (G), Aberdeen (Asee, however, No. 6 below), Edinburgh (E). Eight editions prior to 1900 have been established, at least one copy of each having been examined. Only NLS has a copy of every edition, two of these being accessions from the library of Lauriston Castle near Edinburgh. Thanks are due to members of the library staff at NLS, C, StA, and D for information about their holdings. The full titlepage of the First Edition is provided together with brief descriptions of the remaining editions. Only sample collations have been carried out; no substantial differences in the texts have been discovered. 1. London 1795 4to. First edition. BL, NLS, O, C. StA, G, A, E. 2. Dublin 1795 8vo. Some spelling mistakes have been corrected. BL, NLS, O, C, D. Mr. M. Pollard of Trinity College Library states that the copy of this edition was purchased only in 1962; it contains the bookplate of Eliz. Anne Levinge with the signature Elizth. Anne Parkyns 1808 on the titlepage. Mr. Pollard emphasizes that reprint by Dublin printers was perfectly legal provided that the books were not offered for sale in England. 3. Essais philosophiques; par feu ADAM SMITH, Docteur en droit, de la socit royale de Londres, de celle dEdimbourg, etc. etc. Prcds dun prcis de sa vie et de ses crits; Par DUGALD STEWART, de la socit royale dEdimbourg. Traduits de langlais par P. Prevost, professeur de philosophie Genve de lacadmie de Berlin, de la socit des Curieux de la Nature, et de la socit royale dEdimbourg. PREMIERE PARTIE. A Paris, Chez H. AGASSE, imprimeurlibrairie, rue des Poitevins, noo 18. An V de la Rpublique (1797, vieux style.) Fine portrait bust of Adam Smith (B.L. Prevost sculp.) opposite titlepage.Of this, in some respects the most adequate, edition a rather fuller description seems to be justied. It is unique among editions before 1900 in containing Adam Smiths long letter to the Edinburgh Review (1756), here in French translation, numerous notes of varying lengths by the translator and mainly relating to the later essays, also a fairly detailed Table of Contents of the whole, the Seconde Partie of which is separately signed and paged. The Notes are described (presumably by the publisher) as trs intressantes (ii.316). Of special interest is the translators statement (i.277) that the note on Halleys comet is de lediteur anglais (sic). BL, NLS. 4. Basel 1799 8vo. Essays on Philosophical Subjects by the late ADAM SMITH LL.D. . . . To which is afxed an account of the Life and Writings of the Author by DUGALD STEWART F.R.S.E. Basil: printed for the Editor of the Collection of English Classics sold by James Decker, Printer and Bookseller 1799. BL, NLS.The only point of interest in this edition is the omission of any reference to the original editors, Joseph Black and James Hutton.

225

5. Volume v of Adam Smiths Works edited by Dugald Stewart and dated 1811 (as is vol. iv, vols. iiii being 1812). Vol. v also contains the essay entitled Considerations concerning the rst Formation of Languages. BL, NLS, O. 6. Essays on Philosophical Subjects by Adam Smith LL.D., F.R.S. etc. London 1822. A new edition. This apparently very rare edition was printed (titlepage verso) by A. Allardice, Leith, for Allardice, Edinburgh; R. Grifn, Glasgow; and several London houses. The copy examined is inscribed Biblioth. Classis Physicae in Acad. Mariscallana and stamped Nat. Phil. Clas. Library 1860 University of Aberdeen, i.e. on the union of Kings and Marischal Colleges, previously separate universities. NLS. A. 7. London 1869 8vo. Essays. The volume is in fact a reprint of both TMS (followed, as usual, by Languages) and EPS. The Biographical Notice is drastically abridged. BL, O, C, StA. 8. London 1880 8vo. Essays Philosophical and Literary. Stated in BL catalogue to be a duplicate of No. 7. BL, NLS, O, C, StA. 9. The Essays are included in The Early Writings of Adam Smith edited by J. R. Lindgren (Augustus M. Kelley, New York 1967). This edition includes the Edinburgh Review articles, the Preface to William Hamiltons Poems on Several Occasions (1748), and the Languages. It is not introduced or annotated. Note on the Text The present volume follows the text of the rst edition (published by Cadell and Davies in 1795, ve years after Smiths death), but with printers errors corrected. Since the essay is designed to illustrate the principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries rather than to provide a history of astronomy per se, no attempt has been made to achieve that completeness of documentation which would be appropriate in a denitive classic. Endnotes [1] Rae, Life, 44, states that before the middle of November [1751] he [Smith] and Cullen were already deeply immersed in quite a number of little schemes for the equipment of the College [Glasgow]. [2] That Smith himself was far from being consistent in referring to his literary achievements and aims will appear in connection with the dating of the Imitative Arts (172 below). [3] H. F. Thomson, Adam Smiths Philosophy of Science, Quarterly Journal of Economics, lxxix (1965), 218. [4] For a further elaboration, see the present writers Adam Smith and the History of Ideas in Essays on Adam Smith. The essay was designed to be read in conjunction with this introduction.

226

[5] On Smiths attitude to the faculty of imagination see below, 20. [6] Really four: the rst, the demonstration that the planets orbits, including the Earths, are coplanar with the Sun is unaccountably omitted from the textbooks. Kepler himself never set out the laws in any systematic form. [7] Quoted from T. Heath, Greek Astronomy (1932), 1245.

227

INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME IV: LECTURES ON RHETORIC AND BELLES LETTRES [J.C. BRYCE]

1. The Manuscript
In The Scotsman newspaper of 1 and 2 November 1961 John M. Lothian, Reader (later titular Professor) in English in the University of Aberdeen announced his discovery and purchase, at the sale of an Aberdeenshire manorhouse library in the late summer of 1958, of two volumes of manuscript Notes of Dr. Smiths Rhetorick Lectures. They had been part of the remainder of a once extensive collection begun in the sixteenth century by William Forbes of Tolquhoun Castle, and in the late eighteenth century the property of the ForbesLeith family of Whitehaugh, an
228

estate brought to the Forbeses by the marriage of Anne Leith. In September 1963 Lothian published an edition of the notes as Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres Delivered in the University of Glasgow by Adam Smith, Reported by a Student in 176263 (Nelson). Identication of the lecturer was easy. It had always been known that Smith gave lectures on rhetoric; his manuscript of these (Stewart, I. 17) was among those destroyed in the week before his death in obedience to the strict instructions he had given, rst to Hume in 1773, then in 1787 to his literary executors Joseph Black and James Hutton. Lecture 3 of the discovered report is a shortened version of the essay on the First Formation of Languages published by Smith in 1761. Further, Lothian found later in the 1958 sale volumes 26 of manuscript notes of lectures on Jurisprudence, and though they bore no name they turned out to be a more elaborate version of the lectures by Smith reported in notes discovered in 1876 and published by Edwin Cannan in 1896. A search in Aberdeen junkshops was rewarded, thanks to the extraordinary serendipity which Lothians friends always envied him, by the nding of the missing volume 1. These volumes have the same format and paper as the Rhetoric and the same hand as its main text. When the Whitehaugh family acquired these manuscripts is not known. Absence of mention of them in three successive catalogues of the collection now in Aberdeen University Library has probably no signicance; these are lists of printed books. No link between the ForbesLeiths and the University of Glasgow has come to light. The most probable one is that at some point they engaged as a private tutor a youth who had been one of Adam Smiths students and who knew that he would endear himself to his notably bookish employers by bringing them this otherwise unavailable work by a philosopher already enjoying an international reputation as the author of the Moral Sentiments. Such private tutorships were among the most usual rst employments of products of the Scottish universities in the eighteenth century; and of Smith himself we learn from the obituary notice in the Gentlemans Magazine of August 1790 (lx. 761) that his friends wished to send him abroad as a travelling tutor when he came down from Oxford in 1746 after six years as Snell Exhibitioner at Balliolthough WN V. f. i 45 suggests that even after his happy travels with the young Duke of Buccleuch in 176466 he had doubts about the value of such posts. Still, both his successors in the Chair of Logic at Glasgow had held them. Of course the discovery of a Whitehaugh tutor among the graduates of, say, 176364 would not necessarily bring us nearer to identifying the notetaker, who may have been another student. Such notes circulated very widely at the time. Indeed, given the celebrity of this lecturer it is surprising that the Rhetoric should have turned up so far in only one version. The attempt to match the handwriting of the manuscript with a signature in the Matriculation Album of the relevant period has been thwarted by the depressing uniformity of these signatures; entrants were calligraphically on their best behaviour. In the matter of provenance an interesting possibility is opened up by a letter from John ForbesLeith to James Beattie, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen in 1779 about his familys library (JML xi, quoting Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland LXXII, 1938, 252). The Rhetoric is not mentioned, but its subjectmatter lay so much in Beatties eld of interest that one is tempted to wonder whether he was in some way instrumental in ac-

229

quiring the manuscript. A similar possibility is that Smiths successor as Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1764, Thomas Reid, who maintained his contacts with friends in Aberdeen long after his move to Glasgow, may have obtained the notes and handed them on to Whitehaugh. Reid is known to have been anxious to see notes of his predecessors lectures: I shall be much obliged to any of you Gentlemen or to any other, who can furnish me with Notes of his Prelections whether in Morals, Jurisprudence, Police, or in Rhetorickso he said in his Inaugural Lecture on 10 October 1764 as preserved in Birkwood MS 2131/4/II in Aberdeen University Library. The manuscript of the Rhetoric, now Glasgow University Library MS Gen. 95. 1 and 2, is bound in halfcalf (i.e. with leather tips) and marbled boards. In the top three of the six panels of the spine is incised blind in cursive: Notes of Dr. Smiths Rhetorick Lectures: Vol. 1st. and . . . Vol. 2nd. The pages are not numbered; the present edition supplies numbering in the margin. The gatherings, normally of four leaves each, have been numbered on the top left corner of each rst page, apparently in the same (varying) ink as the text at that point. Volume 1 has 51 gatherings, of which the 14th is a bifolium, here given the pagenumbers 52a, v.52a, 53b, v.53b, to indicate that it is an insertion. Volume 2 consists of gatherings 52114; 94 has six leaves; and 74 has a bifolium of different paper stuck in loosely between the rst and second leaves with no break in the continuity of the text, and a partially erased My Dear Dory written vertically on the inner left page, i.e. ii. v. 90 under the note about Sancho Panca. The pages measure 195 118 mm, but gatherings 14 only 168 106 mm (of stouter paper than the rest), and 515 185 115 mm. The watermark is LVG accompanied by a crown of varying size and a loop below it, and in some of the gatherings GR under the crown. This is the L. V. Gerrevink paper commonly used throughout much of the eighteenth century. The chain lines are vertical in all gatherings. The rst page of each of the earlier gatherings is much faded, as though having lain exposed for a time before the binding was done. Three hands, here designated A, B, and C, can be distinguished. Hand C, using a dark ink, appears in only a few places in the earlier pages, and may be that of a later owner of the manuscript: sometimes merely touching up faded letters. An appreciation of the nature and authority of the notes depends on an understanding of the activities of scribes A and B, who (especially A) were responsible for transcribing them from the jottings made in class. The scribal habits, of which the textual apparatus will furnish the evidence, rule out the possibility that the pages we have were written while the students listened. There is an apparent contradiction between two reports of Adam Smiths attitude to notetaking. According to his student John Millar, later Professor of Law: From the permission given to students of taking notes, many observations and opinions contained in these lectures (on rhetoric) have either been detailed in separate dissertations, or engrossed in general collections, which have since been given to the public (Stewart I. 17). The Gentlemans Magazine obituary (lx. 762) records that the Doctor was in general extremely jealous of the property of his lectures . . . and, fearful lest they should be transcribed and published, used often to repeat, when he saw any one taking notes, that he hated scribblers. The paradox is resolved if we remember the advice given by Thomas Reid, and by many a university teacher before and since, that those who write

230

most in class understand least, but those who write at home after carefull recollection, understand most, and write to the best Purpose, and that this reective reconstruction of what has been heard is precisely what a philosophical discourse requires (Birkwood MS 2131/8/III). The general success with which our scribes grasped the structure and tenor of Smiths course, as well as much of the detail, exemplies what Reid had in mind. Even the exasperated admissions of failureI could almost say damn it, Not a word more can I remember (ii. 38, 44)conrm the method by which they are working. In some cases the scribe begins his transcription with a heading which will recall the occasion as well as the matter, as when he notes that Smith delivered Lectures 21 and 24 without Book or sine Libro; and he is careful to give Lecture 12, the hinge between the two halves of the course, the title Of Composition because it begins the discussion of the various species of writing. Our manuscript is the result of a continuous collaboration between two students intent on making the notes as full and accurate a record of Smiths words as their combined resources can produce. The many slips and gaps which remain should not blind us to the great pains taken. Working from fairly full jottings, Scribe A writes the basic text on the recto pages (except, oddly, i. 1868 when he uses the verso pages), and thereafter two kinds of revision take place. He corrects and expands the text, writing the revision above the line when only a word or two are involved. Unfortunately the additions of this kind are far too numerous to be specially signalized without overburdening the textual apparatus, and they have been silently incorporated in the text. In any case it is impossible to distinguish those added currente calamo from those added later, except of course where the interlined words replace a deletion (and these are always noted here). When the addition is too lengthy to be inserted between lines, Scribe A writes them on the facing page (i.e. a verso page, except at i. 1868) at the appropriate point, and often keys them in with x or some other symbol. All such additions on the facing page are, in this edition, enclosed in brace brackets { }. Scribe As sources for his additional materials no doubt varied; some of it was certainly recollected in tranquillity as Reid would have recommended; some of it such a tirelessly conscientious student would acquire by consultation with a fellowstudent, or perhaps one of the sets of notes in circulation from a previous year. There is reason to think that some of the material had simply been inadvertently omitted at the rst transcription. The second revision, much less extensive but very useful, is Scribe Bs. Apart from a few corrections of As words, B makes two sorts of contribution. He lls in a good many of the blanks clearly left by A with this in viewalas, not enough, though he is obviously in many ways better informed than A. This comes out also in the sometimes substantial notes he writes on the verso page facing As text, with supplementary illustration and explanation of the points there treated. These are enclosed in { }, with a footnote assigning them to Hand B. They raise the same question of source as As notes. From the fact that B never himself deletes or alters what he has written and generally arranges his lines so as to end exactly within a certain space, e.g. opposite the end of a lecture (i. v. 116; ii. v. 18), we may deduce that he is working from a tidy original or fair copy: another set of notes? The order in which A and B wrote their inserted matter varied: at i. 46 As note is squeezed into space left by Bs, and similarly at ii. v. 30 and elsewhere: but normally

231

Bs notes are clearly later than As, as at i. v. 146, and at ii. v. 101 Bs note is squeezed between two of As although the second of these was written (in different ink) later than the rst. There is a noticeable fallingoff in versopage notes from about Lecture 16 onwards: inexplicable, unless Scribe A was becoming more adept in transcription. Certainly the report of the last lecture is much the longest of them all, but Smith probably, like most lecturers, used more than the hour this time in order to nish his course. Scribe A relieved the tedium of transcription by occasional lightheartedness. There is the doodled caricature of a face (meant to resemble Smiths?) This is a picture of uncertainty, at ii. 67: at ii. 166 WFL, i.e. wait for laugh, is inserted then deleted; at ii. 224 the habitual spelling tho is for once expanded by the addition of ugh below the line. Of special interest is the added note at i. 196 recording the witticism of Mr Herbert about Adam Smiths notorious absentmindedness. The joke about Smith must have been made just after the lecture and the note added shortly after the transcription in this case. Henry Herbert (17411811), later Baron Porchester and Earl of Carnarvon, was a gentlemanboarder in Smiths house throughout the session 17623. On 22 February 1763 Smith wrote to Hume introducing him as very well acquainted with your works and anxious to meet Hume in Edinburgh (Letter 70). Hume (71) found him a very promising young man, but refers to him on 13 September 1763 (75) as that severe Critic, Mr Herbert. There is a letter from Herbert to Smith (74) dated 11 September 1763. To suggest that Herbert may have been the source of at least some of the additional notes would be an unwarranted use of Occams razor. No one enjoying this degree of familiarity with the lecturer and consulting him on the content of the lectures would have left so many blanks unlled; and Smith would certainly not knowingly have helped to compile notes of his talks. It is also worth noting that the Rhetoric lectures, unlike those on Jurisprudence etc. (see LJ 1415), were not followed by an examination hour in which additional points might be picked up. The wellmarked scribal habits of Scribe A point to his having suffered from a defect of eyesight, some sort of stenopia or tunnelvision. He is prone to various forms of haplography, omission of a word or syllable which resembled its predecessor: if I may so (say omitted), coing (coining), possed (possessed). He writes on the hand, adds r to the, and imagines he has written other. Angle brackets < > have been used for omissions here supplied. There are frequent repetitions of word or phrase; these have been enclosed in square brackets [] . There are innumerable instances of anticipation of words or phrases lying ahead: most of these have been corrected by the scribe when his eye returns to his original jottings. In one case he anticipates a phrase from the beginning of the following lecture (i. 116, 117), showing that on this occasion he had allowed a weekend to pass before transcribing Lectures 8 and 9Friday and Monday, 3 and 6 December. He often tries to hold in his mind too long a passage, writing words that convey the sense and having to change them, when on going back to his jottings he nds the proper words. He starts to write object and has to change it to design. Most of the many overwritten words in the manuscript are examples of this, and unfortunately it is seldom possible to decipher the original word; where it is, it has been noted. The scribes memory of the drift of Smiths meaning no doubt played a

232

part; but here as elsewhere he is eager to record the masters ipsissima verba. He frequently reverses the order of words and phrases and restores the proper order by writing numbers above them. The aim of the present edition has been to allow the reader to judge for himself the nature of the manuscript by presenting it as fully as print will allow; but in the interests of legibility several compromises have been made. Where the punctuation is erratic or accidental it has been normalized: e.g. commas separating subject from verb, is from its complement, a conjunction from its clause, and the like. The original paragraphing has been retained where it clearly exists and is intended. Not all initial capitals have been retained. The scribe usually employs them for emphasis or to convey an impression of a technical or special use of a word; but in Some, Same, Such, with Regard to, in Respect to, for my Part, for this Reason, etc., the capital has been ignored. Frequently used abbreviations have been silently expanded: such are ys (this), ym (them), yr (their), yn (than), yse (those), nyr (neither), oyr (other), Bryr (Brother), pt (part), agst (against), gs (gures), ds (divisions), nomve (nominative), and others of similar type. It has not been possible to record the many changes of ink, pen, and style of writing (from copperplate to hurried), though these are no doubt indicative of the circumstances in which Scribe A was working. The misnumbering of Lecture 5 onwards has been corrected, and noted. To sum up the textual notation used: {} <> [] deleted replaces: changed from: superscript indicators: notes on page facing main textHand B if relevant omissions supplied conjecturally erroneous repetitions deleted words not replaced above line words corrected in line above a deletion original word decipherable beneath overwriting normally refer to the preceding word or words, to which reference is made.

2. The Lectures
The notes we have date from what was apparently the fteenth winter in which Adam Smith lectured on rhetoric. Disappointed of a travelling tutorship on coming down from Balliol, and after two years at home in Kirkcaldy in 17468, he opened a class for teaching rhetorick at Edinburgh, as the obituary in the Gentlemans Magazine (Aug. 1790, lx. 762) puts it; and it goes on to remark on an advantage enjoyed by Smith and frequently to be noticed in later years: His pronunciation and his style were much superior to what could, at that time, be acquired in Scotland only. The superiority was often (as by Sir James Mackintosh in introducing the second edition of the 17556 Edinburgh Review in 1818) ascribed to the inuence of the speech of his Glasgow Professor Francis Hutcheson, as well as to his six Oxford years. His awareness of language as an activity had certainly been sharpened by both experiences of different modesdifferences so often embarrassing to his fellowcountrymen, speakers and writers alike, in the midcentury. The Edinburgh Review no. 1 named as one of the obstacles to the progress of science in Scotland the difculty of a proper expression in a country where there is no standard of language, or at least one
233

very remote (EPS 229); and two years later, on 2 July 1757, Hume observes in a letter to Gilbert Elliott of Minto (Letter 135, ed. J. Y. T. Greig, 1932) that we are unhappy, in our Accent and Pronunciation, speak a very corrupt Dialect of the Tongue which we make use of . The background of desire for selfimprovement and the part played by the many societies in Edinburgh and elsewhere are described in JML xxiiixxxix, and D. D. McElroy, Scotlands Age of Improvement (1969). Smith teaching rhetorick in 1748 was the right man at the right moment. In the absence of advertisement or notice of the lectures in the Scots Magazine (these would have been unusual at this time: not so ten years later) we do not know exact dates; but A. F. Tytler in his Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Honourable Henry Home of Kames, containing sketches of the Progress of Literature and General Improvement in Scotland during the greater part of the eighteenth century (1807: i. 190) gives this account: It was by his [sc. Kamess] persuasion and encouragement, that Mr Adam Smith, soon after his return from Oxford, and when he had abandoned all views towards the Church, for which he had been originally destined, was induced to turn his early studies to the benet of the public, by reading a course of Lectures on Rhetoric and the Belles Lettres. He delivered those lectures at Edinburgh in 1748, and the two following years, to a respectable auditory, chiey composed of students in law and theology; till called to Glasgow. . . . The auditory included Alexander Wedderburn (who edited The Edinburgh Review 17556), William Johnston (who became Sir William Pulteney), James Oswald of Dunnikeir (a boyhood friend of Smiths from Kirkcaldy), John Millar, Hugh Blair, and others, who made a distinguished gure both in the department of literature and in public life. When on 10 January 1751 Smith wrote (Letter 8) to the Clerk of Senate at Glasgow accepting appointment to the Chair of Logic there and explaining that he could not immediately take up his duties because of his commitments to his friends here, i.e. in Edinburgh, the plural shows that he had sponsors for his lectures besides Kames, and it has been supposed that these were James Oswald and Robert Craigie of Glendoick. There is independent evidence that at least in his last year at Edinburgh if not earlier he also lectured on jurisprudence; but Tytler is quite clear on the duration of the rhetoric course; and after Smiths departure for Glasgow a rhetoric course continued to be given by Robert Watson till his departure for the Chair of Logic at St Andrews in 1756. This was only the beginning: one of Smiths rst auditory, Hugh Blair, on 11 December 1759, began a course on the same subject in the University of Edinburgh, which conferred the title of Professor on him in August 1760 and appointed him to a new Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (destined to become in effect the rst Chair of English Literature in the world) on 7 April 1762. Smiths original lectures were presumably delivered in one of the Societies, the Philosophical being the most likely because since the 45 its ordinary activities had been suspended, and Kames would have seen the courses as a way of keeping it alive. In 1737 Colin Maclaurin, Professor of Mathematics (see Astronomy IV. 58), was instrumental in broadening the Societys scope to include literature and science.

234

When Adam Smith arrived in Glasgow in October 1751 to begin teaching as Professor of Logic and Rhetoric he found his duties augmented owing to the illness of Thomas Craigie, the Professor of Moral Philosophy, the work of whose classes was to be shared by Smith and three other professors. We hardly need evidence to prove that, hardpressed as he was, he would fall back on his Edinburgh materials, including the Rhetoric, which it was his statutory duty to teach. Craigie died in November and his Chair was lled by the translation to it of Smith in April 1752. Throughout the eighteenth century the ordinary or public class of Moral Philosophy met at 7.30 a.m. for lectures on ethics, politics, jurisprudence, natural theology, and then at 11 a.m. for an examination hour to ensure that the lecture had been understood. A private class, sometimes called a college, attended by those who had already in the previous year taken the public class and were now attending that for the second timeor even thirdbut not the examination class, met at noon, normally three days a week. Each professor used the private class for a course on a subject of special interest to himself. Hutcheson had lectured on Arrian, Antoninus (Marcus Aurelius), and other Greek philosophers; Thomas Reid on the powers of the mind. Adam Smith chose for his private class the rst subject he had ever taught, Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. Here a question arises. Rhetoric was now in the domain of his successor in the Chair of Logic, James Clow. There is no record of a protest from Clow, as there was in Edinburgh from John Stevenson, who had been teaching logic and rhetoric for thirtytwo years when Blairs Chair was founded. Several explanations suggest themselves, apart from personal good will. The phrase Belles Lettres, though it did not mollify Stevenson, differentiated in a decisive way the two Glasgow courses. Clows emphasis seems to have rested on rhetorical analysis of passages, in keeping with the discipline of logic (see JML xxx quoting Edinburgh Univ. Lib. MS DC 8, 13). More important, at Glasgow a public class was not the offender. In any case Smiths rhetoric students had attended Clows class two years before, and the opportunity (which Smith knew they enjoyed) of making correlations can only have been philosophically benecial. Similar opportunities were opened by their hearing at the same timeand having already heardSmiths discourses on ethics and jurisprudence. The lectures on history and on judicial eloquence would be illustrated by those on public and private law. And we must not forget that these students were simultaneously studying natural philosophy, theoretical and practical, the fth year subjects of the Glasgow Arts curriculum. Such juxtapositions were then as now among the great benets of the Scottish University system, and without them Scotland would not have made the mark she did in philosophy in Adam Smiths century. In particular, Smiths students must have noted the multifaceted relationship between the ethics and rhetoric, in three broad areas. First, Smith employed many of the general principles stated in TMS in illustrating the different forms of communication: for example, our admiration for the great (ii. 107 and below, section 4), or for hardships undergone with rmness and constancy (ii. 100). Smith also drew attention to the inuence of environment on forms and modes of expression (ii. 11316, 142 ff., 152 ff.) in a manner which would be familiar to those who had already heard his treatment of the rules of conduct. Secondly, Smiths students would note the points at which the rhetoric elaborated on the discussion of the role of sympathy and the nature of moral judgement and persuasion (cf. TMS I. i. 34; cf. 1819 below). The character of the man of sensibility is strikingly developed in Lecture XXX (ii.

235

234 ff.) while the argument as a whole implies that the spoken discourse could on some occasions affect moral judgement. Thirdly, Smiths students would perceive that the arguments developed in the lectures on rhetoric complement the analysis of TMS, where it is remarked that: We may judge of the propriety or impropriety of the sentiments of another person by their correspondence or disagreement with our own, upon two different occasions; either, rst, when the objects which excite them are considered without any peculiar relation, either to ourselves or to the person whose sentiments we judge of; or, secondly, when they are considered as peculiarly affecting one or other of us (TMS, I.i.4.1). Objects which lack a peculiar relation include the expression of a picture, the composition of a discourse . . . all the general subjects of science and taste. Smiths lecturing timetable is set out in LJ 1322, with references to the sources of our information. On the Rhetoric lectures, two accounts by men who had heard them show with what clarity they were remembered more than thirty years later. The rst was given by John Millar, Professor of Law, who had heard them both in Edinburgh and Glasgow, to Dugald Stewart for a memoir of Smith to be delivered at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1793 (Stewart I. 16): In the Professorship of Logic, to which Mr. Smith was appointed on his rst introduction into this University, he soon saw the necessity of departing widely from the plan that had been followed by his predecessors, and of directing the attention of his pupils to studies of a more interesting and useful nature than the logic and metaphysics of the schools. Accordingly, after exhibiting a general view of the powers of the mind, and explaining so much of the ancient logic as was requisite to gratify curiosity with respect to an articial method of reasoning, which had once occupied the universal attention of the learned, he dedicated all the rest of his time to the delivery of a system of rhetoric and belleslettres. The best method of explaining and illustrating the various powers of the human mind, the most useful part of metaphysics, arises from an examination of the several ways of communicating our thoughts by speech, and from an attention to the principles of those literary compositions which contribute to persuasion or entertainment. By these arts, every thing that we perceive or feel, every operation of our minds, is expressed and delineated in such a manner, that it may be clearly distinguished and remembered. There is, at the same time, no branch of literature more suited to youth at their rst entrance upon philosophy than this, which lays hold of their taste and their feelings. The second report, written after 1776 in a letter from James Wodrow, Library Keeper at the University of Glasgow from 1750 to 1755, to the Earl of Buchan and preserved in Glasgow Univ. Lib. Murray Collection (Buchan Correspondence, ii. 171), reads: Adam Smith delivered a set of admirable lectures on language (not as a grammarian but as a rhetorician) on the different kinds or characteristics of style suited to dif-

236

ferent subjects, simple, nervous, etc., the structure, the natural order, the proper arrangement of the different members of the sentence etc. He characterised the style and the genius of some of the best of the ancient writers and poets, but especially historians, Thucydides, Polybius etc. translating long passages of them, also the style of the best English classics, Lord Clarendon, Addison, Swift, Pope, etc; and, though his own didactic style in his last famous book (however suited to the subject) the style of the former book was much superiorwas certainly not a model for good writing, yet his remarks and rules given in the lectures I speak of, were the result of a ne taste and sound judgement, well calculated to be exceedingly useful to young composers, so that I have often regretted that some part of them has never been published. With this stricture on the style of WN, incidentally, may be compared the remark made by Lord Monboddo to Boswell that though Smith came down from Oxford a good Greek and Latin scholar, from the style of WN one would think that he had never read any of the Writers of Greece or Rome (Boswell, Private Papers, ed. Scott and Pottle, xiii. 92); and even his friends Hume, Millar and Blair took this view. On the other hand John Ramsay of Ochtertyre (Scotland and Scotsmen in the eighteenth Century, published 1888, i. 462) thought that in view of the purity and elegance with which he ordinarily wrote it was no wonder, then, that his lectures should be regarded as models of composition. A kindred activity of Smiths in his Glasgow days is recorded in the Foulis Press Papers, extracted by W. J. Duncan in Notes and Documents illustrative of the Literary History of Glasgow (Maitland Club 1831, 16): in January 1752 he had helped to found a Literary Society in the University, and he read papers to this society on Taste, Composition and the History of Philosophy which he had previously delivered while a lecturer on rhetoric in Edinburgh. Of these, two were parts I and II of the essay on the Imitative Artsthis on the evidence of John Millar who was a member of the Society (EPS 172)an essay which Smith told Reynolds he intended publishing this winter, i.e. 17823 (Reynolds, letter of 12 September 1782, in Correspondence of James Boswell, ed. C. N. Fifer, Yale UP 1976, 126). What modications the lectures on rhetoric underwent between 1748 and the session in which our notes were taken it is almost impossible to determine. There are few datable post1748 references. Macphersons Ossian imitations, lately published (ii. 113), appeared in 1760, 1762, 1763. Grays two Pindaric odes, if the reference at ii. 96 includes them, belong to 1757; the Elegy in a Country Churchyard, of which Smith became so fond, to 1751; Shenstones Pastoral Ballad to 1755. Rousseaus Discours (i. 19) appeared in 1755 and was discussed by Smith in the Edinburgh Review no. 2 (EPS 2504). All of these references, except perhaps the last, could easily have been inserted without radical revision of the text. The unmistakable reference to Humes History of England at ii. 73, whether we read so or (10 in the added marginal note, raises a complex question. The History appeared in instalments, working backwards chronologically, in 1754, 1757, 1759, and was completed in 1762, after which date the reference becomes relevant. On 12 January 1763 Smith must have read out what had stood in his manuscript for some years, and then in the last moments of the lecture made an impromptu correction when recollecting a friends very

237

recent publication. Why this afterthought is also recorded by Scribe A in an afterthought is perhaps not in the circumstances all that mysterious. The general continuity of the lecturecourse from 1748 to 1763, details apart, is established by its structure and by the set of central principles which inform all twentynine reported lectures and which could not have been added or superimposed on the argument at some intermediate stage of its development. Basic to the whole is the division into an examination of the several ways of communicating our thoughts by speech and an attention to the principles of those literary compositions which contribute to persuasion or entertainment. To set this out in summary: rst section, linguistic: (a) Language, communication, expression (Lectures 27, i. 85); (b) Style and character (Lectures 711).Second section, the species of composition: (a) Descriptive (Lectures 1216); (b) Narrative or historical (Lectures 1720); (c) Poetry (Lecture 21); (d) Demonstrative oratory, i.e. panegyric (Lectures 2223); (e) Didactic or scientic (Lecture 24); (f) Deliberative oratory (Lectures 2527); (g) Judicial or forensic oratory (Lectures 2830). Two features of the course enable us to make a plausible guess at the contents of the introductory lecturewhose absence, by the way, tends to prove that this set of notes was not prepared with a view to sale. At the heart of Smiths thinking, his doctrine, and his method of presentation (the three are always related) is the notion of the chain (see ii. 133 and cf. Astronomy II. 89)articulated continuity, sequence of relations leading to illumination. Leave no chasm or gap in the thread: the very notion of a gap makes us uneasy (ii. 36). The orator puts the whole story into a connected narration; the great art of an orator is to throw his argument into a sort of a narration, lling up in the manner most suitable . . . (ii. 206, 197). The art of transition is a vital matter (i. 146). Smith is concerned with this on the strategic level just as contemporary writers on Milton and Thomson were on the imaginative. As a lecturer, giving an exhibition of the very craft he is discussing, he insists that his listeners know where they have been and where they are going. Dugald Stewart notes in his Life of Thomas Reid that neither he nor his immediate predecessor ever published any general prospectus of their respective plans; nor any heads or outlines to assist their students in tracing the trains of thought which suggested their various transitions (1802: 389). In Smiths case the frequent signposts would have made such a prospectus superuous, and readers of the lectures are more likely to complain of being led by the hand than of bafement. What all this amounts to is that the opening themephrase Perspicuity of stile must have been clearly led up to. The other habit of Smiths gives a clue to how this may have been done. He often shows his impatience with intricate subdivisions and classications of his subject, such as had long made rhetoric a notoriously scholastic game. La Bruyre speaks of un beau sermon made according to all the rules of the rhetoricians, with the cognoscenti in the preachers audience following with admiration toutes les numrations o il se promne. But though Smith thinks it all very silly and refers anyone so inclined to read about it in Quintilian, his teacherly conscience compels him to ensure that his students have heard of the old terms. Lecture 1 no doubt dened the scope of
238

this course by saying what it was not going to include. At least since the anonymous Rhetorica ad Herennium early in the rst century B.C. the orators art had been divided into invention, arrangement, expression, memory, and delivery; Quintilians words (Institutio Oratoria III. iii. 1; and passim) are inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria, and pronuntiatio or actio. Smith in effect sees only the second and third as important, the third (style) occupying Lectures 211, the second underlying virtually all that Lectures 1230 discuss. It is to be hoped that for the sake of clarity one other traditional division was at least mentioned. As early as i. 12 the didactick stile is compared with that of historians and orators, and the phrase and the comparison occur repeatedly throughout the lectures as if their meaning was already known. The central place occupied in Smiths whole conception of discourse by the didactick stile becomes clear in the lecture (24) devoted to it, where it emerges as not only a mode of expression but as a procedure of thought: the scientic (ii. 1325), that concerned with the exposition of a system, the clarication of a multitude of phenomena by one known or proved principle. Perhaps this was too early in the course; but the analogy with music set out in Imitative Arts II. 29 (see below, section 5) by which many notes are related both to a leading or keynote and a succession of notes or song, and the observation that this is like what order and method are to discourse, would have proved helpful to the many who, then as later, nd it harder to apprehend pattern in language than in sound or colour. Smith makes things harder by equating, at i. 152, the ancient (indeed Aristotelian) division of speeches into Demonstrative, Deliberative, Judicial, with his own philosophical division into narrative, didactic, rhetorical (i. 149). This, it must be admitted, involves some straining. It is rather reverence for antiquity than any great regard for the Beauty or usefullness of the thing itself which makes me mention the Antient divisions of Rhetorick (i. 152); but in this case he could have been less scrupulous, since Quintilian (III. iv) asks why three? rather than a score of others. He is echoing Cicero; and JeanFranois Marmontel, author of the literary articles in the Encyclopdie vols 37 and Supplment (collected in Elments de Littrature, 1787) pours scorn on the terms themselves: Deliberative speech, where the orator exerts all his energy to proving to the meeting that there is nothing at all to deliberate; Demonstrative, which demonstrates nothing but attery or hatred (and, he should have added, the orators virtuositynot showing but showing off); Judicial, aiming at demonstrating, and leaving it all to the judges deliberation. In any case Smith in the end does not scrap the ancient divison but simply adds the Didactic to it: Lectures 2230. By chance our notes begin at what Smith thought of rst importance: style, language. Nobis prima sit virtus perspicuitas said Quintilian (VIII. ii. 22, echoing Aristotles , Rhetoric III. ii. 1), and dened the main ingredient in perspicuity as proprietas, each thing called by its own, its properly belonging name. The root meaning of perspicuity is the quality of being seen through, and the subject of Smiths lectures may be said to be what it is that language allows to show through it, and how. For Smith there is much more to this transparence than the handing over of facts or feelings, and the rst paragraph introduces some of this. Words are no mere convenience; they are natives of a community, as citizens areand as i. 56 shows, of a particular part of the

239

community. The Abb du Bos devoted I. xxxvii of Rexions critiques sur la posie et sur la peinture (1719) to showing the kind of force the words of our own language have on our minds. When an Englishreading Frenchman meets the word God it is to the word Dieu and all its associations that his emotions respond. A more immediate motive for this paragraph can best be indicated by a wellknown story about the poet of the Seasons. After completing his Arts course at Edinburgh, James Thomsons rst exercise in the Faculty of Divinity was the preparation of a sermon on the Jod section of Psalm cxix. When he read it to his class on 27 October 1724 it was severely criticised by his professor, William Hamilton, for its grandiloquence of style, quite unsuitable for any congregation. Thomson, discouraged, gave up his studies, went off to London, and spent his life writing poems whose highly Latinate diction has often been remarked on: as was that of his fellowcountrymen in his own century. The Scoticisms against which Scottish writers were put on their guard, as by Hume and Beattie, were partly of this kind, and have been attributed to the Latin base of Scots Law as well as of Scottish education. Hutcheson was the rst professor at Glasgow to lecture in English, and this, quite apart from his teaching, was seen as a help to the students in unlearning their linguistic tendencies. A. F. Tytler (Kames, i. 163) emphasises the inuence of another Scottish professor in the same direction, that of the Edinburgh mathematician Colin Maclaurin, his pure, correct and simple style inducing a taste for chasteness of expression . . . a disrelish of affected ornaments. Scots youths were encouraged towards an ease and elegance of composition as a more engaging vehicle for subjects of taste, in the room of the dry scholastic style in which they had hitherto been treated. They were attracted to the more pleasing topics of criticism and the belles lettres. The cultivation of style became an object of study, replacing the ancient school dialectics. This, if only Tytler had provided evidence and illustration, would parallel the linguistic programme of the Royal Society as outlined by Sprat in its History in 1667: this trick of Metaphors, those specious Tropes and Figures, to be replaced by positive expressions bringing all things as near the Mathematical plainness as they can. A much wider context for Smiths lectures is thus created, though we must not forget the immediate one suggested by i. 103: We in this country are most of us very sensible that the perfection of language is very different from that we commonly speak in. Periodically throughout the history of style there occur combats between the respective upholders of the plain and the elaborate: Plato versus the sophist Gorgias; Calvus charging Cicero with Asianic writing as opposed to Attic purity. Smiths teaching comes at such a moment. While he was a student John Constables Reections upon accuracy of style enjoyed something of a vogue. Not published till 1734 (reprinted 1738), this attack on the highly gurative language of Jeremy Colliers Essays (1697) had been written in 1701; and in the meantime Colliers huddle of metaphors and conceits had been sharply criticized in John Oldmixons adaptation of the inuential La manire de bien penser dans les ouvrages desprit (1687) by Dominique BouhoursThe arts of Logick and Rhetorick (1728). Behind all of them lies another combat: the Chevalier de Mrs strictures on the verbal extravagances of Voiture in De la Justesse (1671), which gave Constable his title. These oppositions are of many kinds, and all differ from the one Smith sets up between the lucidity of Swift and the pompousness of Shaftesburythe shaping motive of much of Lectures 711. This is perhaps the earliest
240

appreciation of Swift as writer; political and quasimoral objections prevented his critical recognition till late in the century. Smiths admiration rests on something central in the Rhetoric: All his works show a complete knowledge of his Subject . . . One who has such a complete knowledge of what he treats will naturally arange it in the most proper order (i. 1056). Shaftesbury is a dilettante and does not know enough. Above all he has not kept up with modern scientic advances; he makes up for superciality and ignorance by ornament (i. 1401, 144). That his letters have no marks of the circumstances the writer was in at the time he wrote. Nor any reections peculiarly suited to the times and circumstances is the most telling fault. The writing does not belong anywhere or to any one. It is his criticism of the reverence paid to the gures of speech (whether departures from normal use of word, gurae verborum; or unusual modes of presentation, gurae sententiarumCicero, Orator xxxixxl; Quintilian IX. iiii; Rhetorica ad Herennium Book IV) that leads Smith to his decisive formulations of beauty of language. When the sentiment of the speaker is expressed in a neat, clear, plain and clever manner, and the passion or affection he is possessed of and intends, by sympathy, to communicate to his hearer, is plainly and cleverly hit off, then and then only the expression has all the force and beauty that language can give it. Figures of speech may or may not do the job. See i. 56, 73, 79. The expression ought to be suited to the mind of the author, for this is chiey governed by the circumstances he is placed in. Language is organically related not merely to thought in the abstract (see section 3 below); it bears the same stamp as the speakers nature. Ben Jonson, writing about 1622 (Timber or Discoveries), observed: Language most shewes a man: speake, that I may see thee. It springs out of the most retired and inmost parts of us, and is the Image of the Parent of it, the mind. No glasse renders a mans forme or likeness so true as his speech. The discussion of this relationship is introduced by a nice piece of Smithian economy. The charactersketches of the plain and the simple man not only illustrate two styles and lead on to Swift and Temple (i. 8595); they offer the student models of ethologia, the form prescribed (according to Quintilian I. ix. 3) to pupils in rhetoric as an exercise, and they prepare for the instruction in characterdrawing in Lecture 15 and the discussion of the Character as a genreinvented by Theophrastus, edited by Isaac Casaubon in 1592, introduced in England by Joseph Hall in 1608, and practised by La Bruyere, who is Smiths favourite because his collection is a microcosm of society and of mankind. When Hugh Blair, as he tells us, was lent the manuscript of Smiths lectures (he no doubt remembered hearing this passage) when preparing his own, it was from these ethologiae that he drew hints: On this head, of the General Characters of Style, particularly, the Plain and the Simple, and the characters of those English authors who are classed under them, in this, and the following Lecture, several ideas have been taken from a manuscript treatise on rhetoric, part of which was shown to me, many years ago, by the learned and ingenious author, Dr Adam Smith; and which, it is hoped, will be given by him to the Public (Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, 1783, i. 381). The Theophrastan form inuenced the historians; see the collection Characters of the Seventeenth Century, ed. D. Nichol Smith (1920). It is signicant that

241

the rst critic to publish a series of studies of Shakespeares characters, William Richardson, the Glasgow Professor of Humanity from 1773, was a student of Adam Smiths; his A philosophical analysis and illustration of some of Shakespeares remarkable characters appeared in 1774, and two more volumes in 1784 and 1788. Boswell, another student who heard the Rhetoric lectures (in 1759), was struck by Smiths emphasis on the personal aspects of writers, and he twice recalled the remark about Miltons shoes (absent from our report; it should have come at ii. 107): I remember Dr. Adam Smith, in his rhetorical lectures at Glasgow, told us he was glad to know that Milton wore latchets in his shoes, instead of buckles (Journal of a tour to the Hebrides 9). I have a pleasure in hearing every story, tho never so little, of so distinguished a Man. I remember Smith took notice of this pleasure in his lectures upon Rhetoric, and said that he felt it when he read that Milton never wore buckles but strings in his shoes (Boswell Papers i. 107). Such was the training of the future author of the greatest of all biographies of a man of letters. In no. 1 of the Spectator (1 March 1711) Addison observed, that a Reader seldom peruses a Book with Pleasure till he knows whether the Writer of it be a black or a fair Man, of a mild or cholerick Disposition, Married or a Batchelor, with other Particulars of a like nature, that conduce very much to the right Understanding of an Author. John Harvey included in his Collection of Miscellany Poems and Letters (1726: 8488) a parody of this Spectator, with a ctitious life of himself. Beauty of style, then, is propriety in the exact sense of the word: language which embodies and exhibits to the reader that distinctive turn and quality of spirit in the author qui lui est propre, as Marivaux insisted in the Spectateur franais, 8e feuille (8 September 1722). Our pleasure is, as Hutcheson noted in his Inquiry into the original of our ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725: I. sec. IV. vii), in recognizing a perfect correspondence or aptness in a curious mechanism for the execution of a design. It is characteristic of Smith that his aesthetics should thus centre on correspondence, relation, afnity. What he nds wrong with Shaftesburys style is that he arbitrarily made it up; it has nothing to do with his own character (i. 1378). When the principle is extended from persons to societiesall languages . . . are equally ductile and equally accommodated to all different tempersvery wide and illuminating prospects open up. Good examples are Trajans Rome as formative background for Tacitus (Lecture 20), the comparison of Athens and Rome as contexts for Demosthenes and Cicero (Lecture 26), and the association of the rise of prose with the growth of commerce and wealth (ii. 144 ff.). Indeed the accounts of historical writing and of the three types of oratory are made the occasions for elaborate excursus on different kinds of social and political organization, ancient and modern. By sympathy (i. v. 56): this phrase in the formulation of the highest beauty language can attain is one of the very few which Scribe A underlines, and pains had clearly been taken by Smith to bring out the parallel between his ethical and rhetorical principles. Just as we act under the eye of an impartial spectator within ourselves, the creation of an imaginative selfprojection into an outsider whose standards and responses we reconstruct by sympathy or ability to feel as he does, so our language is enabled to communicate our thoughts and affections (i.e. inclinations) by our
242

ability to predict its effect on our hearer. This is what is meant by seeing the Rhetoric and TMS as two halves of one system, and not merely at occasional points of contact. The connection of sympathy as a rhetorical instrument with the vision of speech and personality as an organic unity need not be laboured. Again, it should be obvious how often Smiths concern is with the sharing of sentiments and attitudes rather than mere ideas or facts. The arts of persuasion are close to his heart for this reason. The opening of Lecture 11 is a key passage. The conveying to a hearer of the sentiment, passion or affection with which [his thought] affects himthe perfection of stileis regulated by a Rule, which is equally applicable to conversation and behaviour as writing; all the Rules of Criticism and morality when traced to their foundation, turn out to be some Principles of Common Sence which every one assents to. One of the most frequent terms of critical praise in the Rhetoric is interesting, bearing its original and normal eighteenth century sense of involving, engaging, as at ii. 27 where, thanks to Livys skill, we enter into all the concerns of the parties and are as affected as if we had been there. The reason why history is enjoyed is that events which befall mankind interest us greatly by the Sympatheticall affections they raise in us (ii. 16). The good historian shows the effects wrought on those who were actors or spectators of the events (ii. 5; cf. ii. 623). Knowledge of the plot of a tragedy is an advantage since it leaves us free to attend to the Sentiments (ii. 30). A variation on this is acutely described in dealing with the picture of Agamemnons sacrice of Iphigenia, by Timanthes (ii. 8); cf. i. 180, Addison on St Peters. Indeed the entire treatment of the art of description in Lectures 1216 is profoundly instructive of Smiths main interests. Even minutiae such as the arrangement of words in a sentence (i. v. 42v. 52b) repay an attention beyond the merely grammatical. The species of writing are so intimately bound up with each other that Smith nds it difcult in Lectures 1230 to demarcate them sharply. By instinct, as already noted, he is a historian in the sense that he sees narrative as the very type of human thoughtprocedure; but his interest in it is also that suggested by Humes description of historys records as so many collections of experiments by which the moral philosopher xes the principles of his science. (William Richardson used similar terms about his studies of Shakespeares characters in 1784). The rst paper read to the Literary Society in the University, on 6 February 1752, was An essay on historical composition by James Moor, the Professor of Greek (Essays, 1759). Moors elaboration of the kinship of history and poetry, the unied pattern which both exhibit in events, throws interesting light on the position occupied by Lecture 21 in Smiths progression. Bolingbroke compared history and drama; and Voltaire wrote to the Marquis dArgenson on 26 January 1740 (Correspondence ed. T. Besterman, xxxv. 373): Il faut, dans une histoire, comme dans une pice de thtre, exposition, noeud, et dnouement. There may be an echo of the ancient assimilation of history and poetry in the Poeticall method of keeping up the connection between events, other than the causal (ii. 36); and history, like poetry, is said to amuse (ii. 62), and to have originated with the poets. Leonard Welsted expounded this view fully in his Dissertation concerning the perfection of the English Language (1724). For Quintilian (X. i. 31) a history is a poem: Est enim proxima poetis et quodammodo carmen solutum. There was indeed much collocation by the ancient rhetoricians of all these genreshistory, poetry, rhetoric, philosophical expositionas in Ciceros Orator XX. 667. The Muses are said to have spoken in Xenophons voice (Orator XIX. 62). They are all

243

combined by Fnelon in the educational project he outlined to the French Academy, rst in 1716. That panegyrical eloquence tient un peu de la posie as Voltaire maintained in the Encyclopdie article on Eloquence is also Smiths view (ii. 1112). The lecture on poetry (21), delivered extemporaneously, is both instructive and disappointing. The postColeridge student looks for more analysis of short poems; these are of little interest, naturally, to the philosopher. More important, why does not Smith of all critics tackle the problem of the pleasure afforded us by tragedy? This is specially strange since Hume, who had offered a highly ingenious answer in his essay on tragedy in 1757, expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment of sympathy in this context in TMS I. iii. 1. 9 (Corr. Letter 36, 28 July 1759), and the second edition of TMS contained a footnote on the question. The insistence in the lecture (ii. 82) on the tragic writers heightening of the painful nature of his story in order to lead to a satisfying catastrophe is an oblique solution of the problem and one frequently given: the difference between suffering on the stage and in real life resides in the artice of the former. The delight of tragedy proceeds from our consciousness of ction, said Johnson in the Preface to Shakespeare (1765)though Burke in 1757 took the opposite view, because we enter into the concerns of others. Kames in The Elements of Criticism (1762: I. ii. 1 sec. 7) discusses the emotions caused by Fiction. The function of Lecture 21 is to prepare for the arts of persuasion used by the orator, playing down or exaggerating as the need demands, by describing the similar arts of the good storyteller. Tragedy and Comedy both arrange events so as to culminate in true conclusiveness. Note that Smiths imagination is as tuned to good cadence as is his ear. That is why he delights in rhyme. Boswell reports that when Johnson was extolling rhyme over blank verse, I mentioned to him that Dr. Adam Smith, in his lectures upon composition, when I studied under him in the College of Glasgow, had maintained the same opinion strenuously, and I repeated some of his arguments. Johnson had no love for Smith, buthad I known that he loved rhyme as much as you tell me he does, I should have HUGGED him (Life of Johnson, ed. HillPowell, i. 4278). Dugald Stewart associates this bias with Smiths ascription of our pleasure in the Imitative Arts (e.g. I. 16, III. 2) to admiration of difcult surmonte (Stewart III. 14 15). The phrase is by Antoine Houdar de La Motte in his controversy with Voltaire over dipe (1730). La Motte opposed both the Unities and Rhyme in drama: toutes ces purilits nont dautre mrite que celui de la difcult surmonte. Both Voltaire and Smith counter this argument by pointing to the observed triumph over observed obstacles, as a source of our surprised delight in all the arts, both plastic and literary. Stewart (III. 15) wonders whether Smiths love of system, added to his partiality for the French drama, may have led him to generalize too much in this. Rhyme is not in fact explicitly mentioned in our manuscript at ii. 74 ff., but it is implicit in couplet and reference to Pope. Cf. TMS V. i. 7. The principles of dramatic composition had more particularly attracted his attention (Stewart III. 15); and though the dogmas about unity of Time and Place had often been attacked since Corneilles Discours in 1660in Farquhars Discourse upon Comedy (1702) and Kamess Elements of Criticism (1762: chap. xxiii)it is pleasant to nd Smith transferring the question to
244

Unity of Interest (ii. 81). This time he is on La Mottes side. In the rst of his Discours sur la Tragdie (1730) this is made the supreme law of dramatic art: but, as Smith remarks, the phrase is susceptible of many interpretations, and it is a little surprising to nd him not following La Mottes thesis that concentration of the audiences sympathy on a group of charactersalways present, always acting, animating and vivifying the action of the pieceis what constitutes unit dintrt, as they are tous dignes que jentre dans leurs passions. That every part of the Story should tend to some one end, whatever that be is of course also a typically Smithian formulation. Beside the remark on Comedy (ii. 82) we must place the full account of the comic at i. 107v. 116. Smiths interest in the laughterprovoking (we must remember that that is simply what the eighteenth century words ridicule and ridiculous mean) was no doubt kindled early by Hutcheson, whose criticism of Hobbess viewthe passion of laughter is nothing but sudden glory arising from some sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves (Leviathan vi)rst appeared in the Dublin Journal 1012 (June 1725), collected as Reections on Laughter (1750). Smiths approach is proper to someone preoccupied with comparison: unexpected incongruities arising from the aggrandisement of the little (as in mockheroic) or diminution of the grand. At i. 112 he seems to allude to Leibnitz: All raillery includes a little contempt, and it is not just to try to make contemptible what does not deserve it (Remarks on Shaftesburys Characteristicks, 1711; printed in Massons Histoire critique de la Rpublique des Lettres, 1715). He does not accept therefore Shaftesburys notion of laughter as a test of truth. For Smith on wit and humour cf. the review of Johnsons Dictionary (EPS 2401). Johnson would not have hugged Smith for his words on tragicomedy (ii. 834). This mixed kind, described in Spectator 40 as monstrous, was several times vigorously defended by Johnson for its truth to life: e.g. Rambler 156 (14 Sept. 1751), as well as the Preface to Shakespeare in 1765. To one tradition of rhetorical instruction Smith is faithful, in the readiness with which he quotes poetic examples side by side with prose. At i. 9 he refers to Samuel Clarkes preface to his edition of the Iliad (1729) in praise of Homers perspicuitysuch, says Clarke, that no prose writer has ever equalled him in this his perpetua et singularis virtus. Clarke also makes an interesting distinction between the poets ars and his oratio; so in our day Ezra Pound has insisted that poetry must have the qualities of good prose. Like that later polymath Coleridge, Adam Smith nursed till his last days the hope of producing a magnum opus of immense scope. I have likewise two other great works upon the anvil; the one is a sort of Philosophical History of all the different branches of Literature, of Philosophy, Poetry and Eloquence (the other being his Jurisprudence); The materials of both are in a great measure collected, and some Part of both is put into tollerable good order. So he wrote to the Duc de La Rochefoucauld on 1 Nov. 1785 (Corr., Letter 248). This was no doubt why in 1755, in a paper read to Cochranes Political Economy Club, he gave a pretty long enumeration . . . of certain leading principles, both political and literary, to which he was anxious to establish his exclusive right; in order to prevent the possibility of some rival claims . . . (Stewart IV. 25). Unfortunately Stewart does not tell us which literary principles were listed. Smith describes the opin245

ions as having formed the subjects of his lectures since he rst taught Mr Craigies class down to this day, without any considerable variation. One envies the eighteenth century the freedom and width of vision made possible to them by their not circumscribing the word literature and narrowing the scope of its study as we have since done. Our two scribes enable us to glimpse that rst work which would have become the foundation of the tantalizing Philosophical History of all literature.

3. Considerations concerning the First Formation of Languages


It may be worth remembering that the dissertation Adam Smith delivered, as by statute required, on 16 January 1751 to justify his induction into the Chair of Logic and Rhetoric at the University of Glasgow was entitled De origine idearum. In the absence of the text of this we cannot know in what sense idea was used. His rst published essay was on a semantic subject. For the rst number of the Edinburgh Review which he had helped to found in 1755 he chose to review Johnsons newly issued Dictionary, and he made his review an exercise in the systematic distinction and arrangement of the meanings of words: but and humour as examples. He found Johnsons treatment insufciently grammatical, i.e. philosophically analytic (EPS 23241) and offers an alternative plan. There is evidence to support the statement of A. F. Tytler in his Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Honourable Henry Home of Kames . . . containing sketches of the Progress and General Improvement in Scotland during the greater part of the eighteenth century (1807: i. 168) that of all the articles in the two numbers of the magazine this was the one which attracted most attentionand the implications of Tytlers long subtitle help us to understand why. Tytler admits that though Smiths article displays the same philosophic views of universal grammar, which distinguish his Essay on the formation of Languages his metaphysical discrimination and ingenuity were less suitable than Johnsons method for conveying a critical knowledge of the English language (170). Light is thrown on the beginnings of Smiths interest in language in a letter which he wrote on 7 February 1763 to George Baird who had sent him an Abstract of An Essay on Grammar as it may be applied to the English Language (1765) by his friend William Ward. The letter (69), which was printed by Nichols in Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century (iii, 1818, 51516), expresses surprise that Ward, mentioning various denitions of nouns, takes no notice of that of the Abb Girard, the author of a book, called, Les vrais Principes de la Langue Franoise. . . . It is the book which rst 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. . . . The grammatical articles, too, in the French Encyclopedie have given me a good deal of entertainment. The comments on Wards design offer a useful introduction to Smiths own thinking. I approve greatly of his plan for a Rational Grammar, and I 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

246

abstractions upon which all reasoning depends. . . . 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, rst invented to express in one word a complete event: I should then have endeavoured to shew how the subject was divided 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 modications, considered as necessary to express all the different qualications and relations of any single event. Smith is too modest to say that all thistaken in a general view, which is the only view that I can pretend to have taken of themhe did in fact set out in an essay published two years earlier, but, as Stewart tells us (II. 44), he was proud of the considerations concerning the First Formation of Languages: It is an essay of great ingenuity, and on which the author himself set a high value and justlyit is a masterpiece of lucid exposition which any summary can only blur. Stewarts comments (II. 4456) are the most perceptive ever made on it. He saw that its value lies, not in the possible accuracy of the opinions, but in its being a specimen of an entirely modern kind of inquiry which seems, in a peculiar degree, to have interested Mr Smiths curiosity. To this Stewart applied the now famous phrase Theoretical or Conjectural History, and he nds examples of it in all Smiths writings. In the absence of direct evidence, when we are unable to ascertain how men have actually conducted themselves upon particular occasions we must consider in what manner they are likely to have proceeded, from the principles of their nature, and the circumstances of their external situation. The known principles of human nature; the natural succession of inventions and discoveries; the circumstances of societythese are the foundations on which rests Smiths thinking whatever be the nature of his subject; astronomy, politics, economics, literature, language. In most cases, it is of more importance to ascertain the progress that is most simple, than the progress that is most agreeable to fact; for . . . the real progress is not always the most natural (56). Stewart is stressing the timelessness of Smiths argument, which still makes sense even after the birth of comparative philology in 1786 with Sir William Joness demonstration before the Royal Asiatic Society of the kinship between Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and the Germanic and Celtic languages. Smith instinctively uses the historical mode for his exposition of principles in this context while exhibiting the powers of the mind operating in their most fully human and characteristic activity: comparing, classifying, abstracting. The primacy he gives to language, which entails that something like Lecture 3 must have come early in his Rhetoric course right from its rst delivery, rests on his vision of language as the embodiment of the minds striving towards the metaphysical, towards conceptualization. Essay, Dissertation, Considerations: the last is the appropriate title, since three (of quite different kinds) are offered. The rst, theoretical history proper, has two sections: (a) on nouns, adjectives and prepositions (125); (b) on verbs and pronouns (2632). That mere chronology is not Smiths real concern is shown by his beginning with nouns, although he believes verbs are the most ancient part of speech, which starts with the presentation of a single undifferentiated event as in the impersonal verb. He does so because the inectional systems of the noun are well adapted to exhibiting his analysis of the process of abstraction: from classes of things, to modi247

cation by quality, gender, number, and relationshipand even within relationships, a hierarchy or range of degrees of the metaphysical, there Smiths vision of the organic connection between thinking and speaking becomes clear. No one will attribute to him the naive notion that early man rst conceived the relations by, with, or from, and then invented the device of adding o or e to the root of the noun to express them. Language and thought are generated together, as dAlembert maintained in the Discours prliminaire to the Encyclopdie in 1751. He too had learned from the Abb Gabriel Girards Les vrais principes de la langue franoise, ou la parole rduite en mthode conformment aux lois de lusage (1747) to see parts of speech, not as dead terms in school grammar, but as operations of the human intellect, and grammar itself as the image of logic. Girards book is a perfect example of the beautiful unity and harmony he nds in the linguistic works of the spirit. The second Consideration (3340) moves from conjectural to actual history: the breakdown of the inectional system which results from peoples of different tongue living together and being defeated by the intricacies (as they see them) of each others speechstructures: the Germanic Lombards confronted with Latin, or (Smith might have added) the invading Norsespeakers meeting the English. The simplication in question can be observed by anyone listening to a foreigner wrestling with his elementary English. Elementary is the right word, speech reduced to its elements, all verbforms reduced to the innitive. Something comparable produces the various kinds of pidgin and creole throughout the world. The third Consideration (4145) is an assessment of the damage wrought by this breakdown: modern analytic languages are, as compared with earlier synthetic ones, more prolix (since a multiplicity of words must replace the old inections), less agreeable to the ear (lacking the pleasing symmetries and variety of the inections), and more rigid in their possibilities of wordordering (differences of caseendings make for exibility in arrangement without ambiguity). Most of the many mideighteenth century investigators of the beginnings of language are interested in more supercial senses of the word origin: fruitless searches for a reason why a particular sound was ever chosen to denote a particular thing or idea, as in the Trait de la formation mchanique des langues et des principes physiques de ltymologie (1765) by Charles de Brosses, parts of which were in circulation from 1751 and found their way into articles in the Encyclopdie; or speculations on universal grammar and the causes of differences among languages, like the Hermes of James Harris (1751). How simplemindedly Smiths highly original essay could be read is illustrated by the widely known Elements of general knowledge (1802), lectures which Henry Kett had been delivering since 1790: how did Adam Smiths two incredible savages ever get into the situation in which he imagines them inventing speech? (i. 889). Kett is put down by the percipient L. Davison in Some account of a recent work entitled Elements of General Knowledge (1804: ii. 8788), who sees that Smith assumes language and is interested simply in how it proceeds. Smiths connection with The Philological Miscellany (1761) in which his essay rst appeared is obscure. An anonymous contributor to The European Magazine, and London Review for April 1802 (xli. 249), writing from Oxford on 10 April 1802, after a reference to an article on Smith in the previous issue and high praise for the review of Johnsons Dictionary, goes on: in 1761 was pub248

lished, I believe by Dr. Smith, The Philological Miscellany , and in it Dr. Smiths Considerations concerning the rst Formation of Languages rst appeared. No authority for attributing the volume to Smith is given; and what in any case is meantthe compiling, or the translating of the French articles? Smiths essay is the only one to be rst published here. The others are almost all from the Mmoires of the Acadmie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, apparently specially translated for this collection of papers on historical, classical and miscellaneous learned questions, such as Smith showed an interest in, in his letter to the Edinburgh Review no. 2, 1756 (EPS 24254). The editor of the Miscellany proposes to enrich his Work with a variety of Articles from the French Encyclopedie, and with curious Dissertations on Philological Subjects by foreign writers. But no further volumes appeared. Note on the Text In Adam Smiths lifetime ve authorized editions of this essay were published, for which the sigla PM, 3, 4, 5, 6 are here used: [PM] the | Philological Miscellany; | consisting of | select essays | from the | memoirs of the Academy of | Belles Lettres at Paris, and | other foreign Academies. | Translated into English. | with | Original Pieces by the most Eminent | Writers of our own Country. | vol. I. | [double rule] | Printed for the Editor; | And Sold by T. Beckett and P. A. Dehondt, | in the Strand. 1761. | (8vo: pp. viii + 510). Pp. 44079 contains: Considerations concerning the rst formation of Languages, and the different genius of original and compounded Languages. By Adam Smith, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. Now rst published.The Table of Contents lists the essay in the same words. This volume, the only one of a projected twiceyearly series to appear, was published in May 1761. The British Library copy has on its yleaf the note: Presented by M.rs Becket Oct.r 9. 1761. [3] the | theory | of | moral sentiments. | To which is added | A Dissertation on the Origin of Languages. | By Adam Smith, L.L.D. | The Third Edition. | . . MDCCLXVII.The essay is on pp. 43778, headed and listed in Table of Contents as in PM, but omitting By . . . published. While this edition of TMS was going through the press in winter 176667 Smith wrote to his publisher William Strahan: The Dissertation upon the Origin of Languages is to be printed at the end of 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 consequenc<e> (Letter 100). Seven verbal changes were nevertheless made in the text. Smith, it may be noted, here gives the essay the same title as do the titlepages of the early editions of TMS, and as Dugald Stewart in his Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, I. 26, II. 44 (see EPS). [4] the | theory | of | moral sentiments. | [as 3] The Fourth Edition . . . MDCCLXXIV. The essay is on pp. 43776, headed as in 3.
249

[5] the | theory | of | moral sentiments. | [as 3] The Fifth Edition . . . MDCCLXXXI. The essay is on pp. 43778, headed as in 3. [6] the | theory | of | moral sentiments. | [as 3] The Sixth Edition . . . MDCCXC. The essay is on pp. 40362 of vol. ii. The present text is that of 1790, the last for which Smith was responsible. He had worked long on the considerable additions and corrections now included in the Theory. An account of the early editions, and of Smiths carefulness over proof correction in general, is given in the introduction to TMS in the present edition: especially 479. The Considerations remained entirely unchanged in substance throughout their ve editions, and only a selection of variants from before 1790 need be recorded. 46 replace in lower case the initial capitals which PM and 3 consistently give the following words: Philosopher, Grammarians, Adjective, Schoolmen, Green (4), Nouns, Metaphysics, Masculine, Feminine, Neutral, Genders, Substantive, Termination, Prepositions, Superiority, Inferiority, Genitive, Dative, Arbor (13 ff.), Grammar, Languages, Nominative, Accusative, Vocative, Cases, Variations, Declensions, Numbers, Conjugations, Verb, Logicians, Citizen, Optative, Mood, Future, Aorist, Preterit, Tenses, Passive, Participle, Innitives, Law, Court, Verse, Prose (in the order of rst occurrence). 46 replace with what we should regard as modern forms the following spellings in PM and 3: concret, antient, accompanyment, surprized, forestal, compleat, indispensible, acquireable. In the matter of punctuation, only students of eighteenth century typographical usage (or whim) will be interested in omissions and insertions of commas in intermediate editions, and they will consult the original texts. In no case is the meaning affected by these variations, though the delivery of an elocutionist declaiming the text might be. No logical or grammatical principle can be seen to be uniformly dictating the many changes from edition to edition. On the whole 46 agree as against PM and 3; but six of 3s changes of PM are reversed by 6 and/or 4, 5. Only variants involving points heavier than comma are here recorded. We cannot know how many are authorial. The seventh edition (1792) follows 6 in capitals, spelling, italics, and generally in punctuation. The other early editions have not been collated. They include: 1777 (Dublin: titlepage the sixth edition), 1793 (Basel), 1797 (8th), 1801 (9th), 1804 (10th), 1808 (Edinburgh: titlepage the eleventh edition), 1809 (Glasgow: titlepage the twelfth edition), 1812 (11th), 1813 (Edinburgh). In The Works of Adam Smith vol. v (1811) the Considerations are on pp. 348, printed as in 6. They are included in Smiths Essays (1869, 1880). A French translation by A.M.H.B.[oulard], Considrations sur la premire formation des langues, et le diffrent gnie des langues originales et composes, was published in Paris in 1796; also one appended to the third French translation of the TMS: Thorie des sentimens moraux, trans. from ed. 7 by Sophie de Grouchy, Marquise de Condorcet (1798, revd. 1830): Considrations sur lorigine et la formation des langues, ii. 264310.

250

4. Rhetoric and literary criticism


A student of the traditional rhetoric who reads the present work as he runs (oras Smith would put itone partly asleep), may possibly as he encounters familiar topics, concepts and terminology, conclude that this is the wellworn old story: a story so often in the past a dreary one. Smith in speaking of the many systems of rhetoric both ancient and modern observed that they were generally a very silly set of books and not at all instructive (i. v. 59). Such a reader will have missed the motive which gives unity and direction to the lectures and the framework of thought which transforms the old discipline; above all he will be ignoring the delight which informs the whole and its details. Steele remarked early in the century that it is a very good service one man renders another when he tells him the manner of his being pleased. Smith began lecturing at a time when the study of rhetoric was turning increasingly, especially in Scotland, to the study of taste. Hugh Blair opens the Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres which he rst delivered in 1759 by summing up their twofold aim: Whatever enables genius to execute well, will enable taste to criticise justly. Smith was a natural teacher of literature. One of his students, William Richardson, in a life of Archibald Arthur who later occupied the Glasgow Chair of Moral Philosophy (and who had himself studied under Smith), records: Those who received instruction from Dr. Smith, will recollect, with much satisfaction, many of these incidental and digressive illustrations, and even discussions, not only in morality, but in criticism, which were delivered by him with animated and extemporaneous eloquence, as they were suggested in the course of question and answer (Arthur, Discourses on Theological and Literary Subjects, 1803: 5078). Richardsons words, though in the rst instance about Smiths examination hour, are known to be true of his lecturing in general; and it is signicant that in the account of the lectures on rhetoric which follows (515), taste is the rst topic to be mentioned, before composition. Arthur himself followed Smiths method and treated of newriting, the principles of criticism, and the pleasures of the imagination . . . intended by him to unfold and elucidate those processes of invention, that structure of language, and system of arrangement, which are the objects of genuine taste. Double evidence, in effect, of Smiths attitude to the rst subject he had chosen to teach. George Jardine, another student of Smiths who, as Professor of Logic and Rhetoric at Glasgow from 1787, continued to teach along the lines his master had laid down, likewise concentrated on the principles of taste and criticism. Thomas Reid, writing about 1791 in the Statistical Account of Scotland (vol. 21, 1799 735), describe Jardines current practice thus: after dealing briey with the art of reasoning and its history, he dedicates the greater part of his time to an illustration of the various mental operations, as they are expressed by the several modications of speech and writing; which leads him to deliver a system of lectures on general grammar, rhetoric, and belles lettres. This course, accompanied with suitable exercises and specimens, on the part of the students, is properly placed at the entrance to philosophy: no subjects are likely to be more interesting to young minds, at a time when their taste and feelings are beginning to open, and have naturally disposed them to the reading of such

251

authors as are necessary to supply them with facts and materials for beginning and carrying on the important habits of reection and investigation. It is signicant that accounts of the tradition in rhetorical teaching acknowledged as stemming from Adam Smith so often dwell on the taste and feelings of the students. The title Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, which presumably (though we do not know) was Smiths own choice to describe his course, seems to go back to Charles Rollins appointment to the Chair of Rhetoric at the Collge Royal in Paris in 1688. Rollins lectures were published in 17268 as De la manire denseigner et dtudier les Belleslettres, par raport lesprit et au coeurlater changed to Trait des tudes. Apart from the suggestions of the subtitle the book cannot be shown to have taught Smith anything in the eld of criticism. He needed no one elses instruction on lesprit et le coeur. His pleasure as a critic is in several ways that of a philosopher. He is stimulated by prose and poetry which clearly reveal the author, and his eye (and ear) are made attentive by the conception he has worked out of the relation between the writer and the man. Theories, as Pater saw, are useful as points of view, instruments of criticism which may help us to gather up what might otherwise pass unregarded by us. Rhetoric had, at least since the rst century bc, always been taught with copious illustrations from writers, and students had been trained by exercises in the close analysis of texts. The opening paragraphs of Biographia Literaria show how lively, and fruitful, this tradition still was in Coleridges schooldays. For Smith there is no separation between the two instructions, in handling language and in the enjoyment of that handling by the masters of the crafts. As we might have predicted, his most characteristic method is the comparative, the pinpointing of an authors essential quality by putting his work alongside that of a practitioner in the same eld or a kindred one: Demosthenes and Cicero, Clarendon and Burnet. This method, used systematically over a great range of examples, is his most distinctive contribution to the literary criticism of his ageespecially when we remember that the values he invokes in his judgements are, not narrowly technical, but comprehensively human and humanecommonsense, to use his own word. In English criticism only Dryden, e.g. in the Essay of Dramatic Poesy and the Preface to the Fables, had so far used comparison in an extensive and selfconscious way. Smith certainly knew the examples in the rhetorical treatises of Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Demosthenes with Thucydides, Plato with Demosthenes, Isaeus with Lysias, etc.) and in Quintilians Institutio Oratoria Book X; but perhaps his immediate model was the series of comparisons of ancient writers published by Ren Rapin in 166481. This was the age of collections of The Beauties of . . . Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, Poetry, and so on. Many of Smiths lectures must have delighted their audience by sounding like some such judiciously selected anthologies. He read extensively from the texts in class, often in his own translation (an art he took great pleasure in and found instructive in its own right: Stewart I. 9): hence the variation in length in the reported lectures. The immense popularity of these lectures was the result of their offering the spectacle of Smiths suppleness in moving easily over the whole eld of ancient and modern writing and of his inventiveness in making illuminating connections.

252

If we cannot number Adam Smith among the greatest critics, we need not fall into the ill temper expressed by Wordsworth in a footnote to his Essay Supplementary to the Preface (1815); on the notion that there are no xed principles in human nature for this art [the admiration of poetry] to rest upon, he adds: This opinion seems actually to have been entertained by Adam Smith, the worst critic, David Hume not excepted, that Scotland, a soil to which this sort of weed seems natural, has produced. The premise of this remark is so mistaken, and the quantity of Smiths literary criticism in the printed works, especially TMS and EPS, so fragmentary and scanty, that the violence of Wordsworths language is difcult to explain. A clue occurs in a letter he wrote to John Wilson in June 1802, commenting on the offence given to many ne ladies by supposedly indelicate or gross expressions in certain of the Lyrical Ballads (The Mad Mother and The Thorn), and as in the instance of Adam Smith, who, we are told, could not endure the ballad of Clym of the Clough, because the author had not written like a gentleman (Early Letters, 1935, 296). This is a clear reference to the interview by Amicus with Smith printed in Appendix 1. The article was reprinted in The European Magazine for August 1791 (xx. 1336), in The Whitehall Evening Post, and thence (with misprints and omissions) in a miscellany of essays dating from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries entitled Occasional Essays on Various Subjects, chiey Political and Historical (1809). The editorship of this last is ascribed by the B.L. Catalogue to the lawyer and mathematician Francis Maseres, the Baron Maseres of Lambs essay on the Inner Temple, i.e. Cursitor Baron of Exchequer. The identity of Amicus is unknown. He has been wrongly said to be Adam Smiths old student David Steuart Erskine, later 11th Earl of Buchan (17421829), who in fact, under his penname Ascanius, criticised the article of Amicus in The Bee of 8 June 1791 (iii. 166 f.): I knew him too well to think he would have liked to have had a pisgah view of such frivolous matters obtruded on the learned world after his deathyet he goes on: He had no ear for music, nor any perception of the sublime or beautiful in composition, either in poetry or language of any kind. He was too much of a geometrician to have much taste. Only if we think the notorious and amboyant eccentricity of Lord Buchan extended to writing an article under one pseudonym in order to condemn it under another can we accept him as Smiths friendly interviewer. In any case he collected all his Bee articles for 4 May 1791 to 25 December 1793 in The anonymous and fugitive essays of The Earl of Buchan, vol. 1 (1812) so that, as the preface explains, no person may hereafter ascribe to him any others than are by him, in this manner, avowed, described, or enumerated. So all we know of Amicus is that, as the we of his defence of Allan Ramsay shows, he was a Scot. As to Lord Buchan, though he had his own odd ways of showing his regard for the reputation of my excellent preceptor and amiable friend and recalled having had the happiness to live long and much with him, the regard was genuine, and in some remarks on literary immortality he groups together Homer, Thucydides, Shakespeare, Adam Smith (Essays as above, 213, 2467, from The Bee, 29 May 1793 and 27 June 1792 respectively). Incidentally, his denial to Smith of a perception of the sublime would have been rebutted by Edmund Burke (who had just written a book on The Sublime and the Beautiful): on 10 Sept. 1759 he wrote to Smith praising the lively and elegant style of TMS and adding it is often sublime too, particularly in that ne Picture of the Stoic Philosophy towards the end of your rst part which is dressed out in all the grandeur and pomp that becomes that magnicent delusion (Corr. Letter 38).
253

Despite the introductory assurance of authenticity by the editor of The Bee, Dr. James Anderson, who had himself known Smith, the moral propriety of reprinting yet again the gossip of Amicus may rightly be questioned. John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, writing at the beginning of the nineteenth century in Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century (1888: i. 468) remarks that Smiths tabletalk would be precious, but the scraps of it published in the Bee do no honour either to his memory or the discretion of his friends. Dugald Stewart (V. 15) contrasts the opinions which in the thoughtlessness and condence of his social hours, he was accustomed to hazard on books, and on questions of speculation, though having much truth and ingenuity in them, with those qualied conclusions that we admire in his writings; and what he said as the fancy or the humour took him, when retailed by those who only saw him occasionally, suggested false and contradictory ideas of his real sentiments. But the Amicus piece has often been quoted (see Rae, Life, 36571). Smith himself seems to approve of curiosity about the greatThe smallest circumstances, the most minute transactions of a great man are sought after with eagerness. Everything that is created with Grandeur seems to be important. We watch the sayings and catch the apothegms of the great ones with which we are innitely pleased and are fond of every opportunity of using them . . . (LRBL ii. 107). We are after all publishing lectures which Smith died believing he had saved from publication as not in a worthy state. Of course (there is a difference) these had in one sense been published. In 1896 Edwin Cannan sought to justify the publication of the Lectures on Jurisprudence by quoting Smiths own words about the limits on testamentary provisions. In LJ (A) i. 1656 they run: . . . we should permit the dying person to dispose of his goods as far as he sees, that is, to settle how it shall be divided amongst those who are alive at the same time with him. For these it may be conjectured he may have contracted some affection. . . . But persons who are not born he can have no affection for. The utmost stretch of our piety can not reasonably extend to them. Mutatis mutandis Smiths suppressions need not inhibit us. Johnsons remark in Rambler 60 is not inopportune: If we owe regard to the memory of the dead, there is yet more respect to be paid to knowledge, to virtue, and to truth.

5. System and aesthetics


On 9 July 1764 Boswell wrote from Berlin to Isabella de Zuylen (Zlide): Mr. Smith whose moral sentiments you admire so much, wrote to me sometime ago, your great fault is acting upon system, what a curious reproof to a young man from a grave philosopher. The letter opens: . . . You know I am a man of form, a man who says to himself, Thus will I act, and acts accordingly (Letters, ed. C. B. Tinker, 1924, 46). In the absence of Adam Smiths letter (strange, considering what mountains of paper Boswell preserved) we cannot tell with what irony he wrote to his former student; but the incident draws attention to the two uses in the eighteenth century of the word and the concept system. While Smith was giving these lectures two of the most powerful critiques of the idea appeared: in the wittiest and subtlest of all such attacks, Tristram Shandy (175967), Sterne presents a hapless philosopherfathers attempts to make his sons upbringing conform to theory, the Shandean systemthe form of the novel itself criticises the no-

254

tion of rigid form; and in 1759 Voltaire produced, in Candide, a demolition of the optimistic scheme of the universe, a series of disastrous frustrations of the illusion that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Marivaux is fond of pillorying les faiseurs de systmes (e.g. in Lettres au Mercure, May 1718 etc.), who are what le vulgaire call philosophers; and Shaftesbury had already in 1711 (Characteristics: Misc. III. ii) dened a formal philosopher as a systemwriter. Systemmonger comes in about the same time. On 27 Sept. 1748 we nd Lord Chestereld advising his son to read and hear, for your amusement, ingenious systems, nice questions, subtilely agitated with all the renements that warm imaginations suggest, and less sardonically he complains: The preposterous notions of a systematical man who does not know the world tire the patience of a man who does. Cf. Stewarts (V. 15) too systematical of Smith; and the man of system apt to be very wise in his own conceit, in TMS, VI. ii. 2. 17. System in the good sense is exemplied by Johnsons defence of The Wealth of Nations against Sir John Pringles charge that Smith was not equipped to write such a work since he had never taken part in trade: . . . there is nothing which requires more to be illustrated by philosophy than trade does (Boswell, Life of Johnson, ed. HillPowell, ii. 430). Another example, used by James Wodrow in a letter to the Earl of Buchan (Glasgow Univ. Lib., Murray MS 506, 169) is the comparison of Smiths accounting for the principal phenomena in the moral world from the one general principle of sympathy, with that of gravity in the natural world. Still another is set out by Smith in a letter (30, dated 4 April 1759) to Lord Shelburne on the course of study his son Lord Fitzmaurice should pursue in his future years at Glasgow, after completing his Philosophical studies. He should, says Smith, attend the lectures of the Professor of Civil Law, as the best preparation for the study of English Law even though Civil Law has no authority in the English Courts: 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 everything that he reads. Compare this with the motive underlying the system of meanings laid out in the review of Johnsons Dictionary (EPS 23241). That something more than mere tidiness and intellectual coherence is involved for Smith is illustrated by a passage in Imitative Arts (II. 30, cf. section 2, above): A wellcomposed concerto of instrumental Music, by the number and variety of the instruments, by the variety of the parts which are performed by them, and the perfect concord or correspondence of all these different parts; by the exact harmony or coincidence of all the different sounds which are heard at the same time, and by that happy variety of measure which regulates the succession of those which are heard at different times, presents an object so agreeable, so great, so various, and so interesting, that alone, and without suggesting any other object, either by imitation or
255

otherwise, it can occupy, and as it were ll up, completely the whole capacity of the mind, so as to leave no part of its attention vacant for thinking of any thing else. In the contemplation of that immense variety of agreeable and melodious sounds, arranged and digested, both in their coincidence and in their succession, into so complete and regular a system, the mind in reality enjoys not only a very great sensual, but a very high intellectual, pleasure, not unlike that which it derives from the contemplation of a great system in any other science. In other words, to watch the explanation of a great diversity and multiplicity of phenomena from a single general principle is to be confronted with beauty: the beauty of a systematical arrangement of different observations connected by a few common principles (WN V. i. f. 25; cf. EPS, 13 ff). We remember that Smiths dominant interests while a student at Glasgow under Professor Robert Simson (Stewart, I. 7) were mathematics and natural philosophy; this is where he learned the idea of a systemas set out in Astronomy IV. 19. The issue is most clearly stated in LRBL (ii. 1324), in the lecture (24) on scientic and philosophical exposition, the didacticall method. One may either explain phenomena piecemeal, using a new principle for each as it is encountered, e.g. the System of Husbandry presented in Virgils Georgics following Aristotles procedure; or in the manner of Sir Isaac Newton we may lay down certain principles known or proved in the beginning, from whence we account for the severall Phenomena, connecting all together by the same chain. This enchanement (the favourite term among French thinkers of the time) is in every branch of studyethics, physics, criticismvastly more ingenious and for that reason more engaging than the other. It gives us a pleasure to see the phaenomena which we reckoned the most unaccountable all deduced from some principle (commonly a wellknown one) and all united in one chain, far superior to what we feel from the unconnected method. . . . (Cf. TMS, VII. ii. 2. 14). The task Smith set himself in the Rhetoric was to substitute a Newtonian (or Cartesian, cf. ii. 134), a philosophical and engaging explanation of beauty in writing, for the old rigmarole about gures of speech and of thought, topics of argument, subdivisions of discourse, characters of style and the rest. In this sense his lectures constitute an antirhetoric; and though they could not by themselves rescue the word rhetoric, or for that matter the phrases belles lettres and polite literature, from the bad press they suffered from, they exerted a profound and revolutionary inuence which has still not been properly investigated, on Hugh Blair, Kames, William Richardson, George Campbell, and those they in turn taught. There is no art whatever that hath so close a connection with all the faculties and powers of the mind as eloquence, or the art of speaking. So George Campbell introduces The Philosophy of Rhetoric in 1776. To come closer to describing Smiths central informing principle, the formulations of two French writers whose work he knew well may help. Le style est lhomme mme. This famous and generally misunderstood remark was made by the naturalist Buffon on his admission to the French Academy in 1753, in what came to be called his Discours sur le style. He is contrasting the inert facts of unanimated knowledge with what language does to them. Ces choses sont hors de lhomme they are nonhuman. But utter them, and how you utter them, is very

256

man, man himself . From a different angle Marivaux, in Le Spectateur franais of 8 September 1722 (Huitime feuille), attacks the notion that you must write in the manner of this or that ancient or modern author, and aims prouver qucrire naturellement, qutre naturel nest pas crire dans le got de tel Ancien ni de tel Moderne, nest pas se mouler sur personne quant la forme de ses ides, mais au contraire, se ressembler dlement soimme . . . rester dans la singularit desprit qui nous est chu. . . . Be like yourself: it was a lesson, Smith believed, the much admired Shaftesbury had never learned.

Bibliographical Note
Adam Smiths life and thought: John Rae: Life of Adam Smith (1895). Reprinted with Guide to John Raes Life of Adam Smith by J. Viner (1965). William R. Scott: Adam Smith as Student and Professor (1937; reprinted 1965). R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner: Adam Smith (1982). A. S. Skinner: A System of Social Science, Papers relating to Adam Smith (1979). T. D. Campbell: Adam Smiths Science of Morals (1971). The Rhetoric: W. S. Howell: EighteenthCentury British Logic and Rhetoric (1971). The section on Smith, rst published in 1969, was reprinted in Essays on Adam Smith, ed. Andrew S. Skinner and Thomas Wilson (1975). V. M. Bevilacqua: Adam Smiths Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (Studies in Scottish Literature, 3 (1965), 4160). See also Modern Language Review, 63 (1968). For J. M. Lothians edition, see Abbreviations. R. Salvucci: La retorica come teoria della comunicazione [on A.S.] Sociologia della comunicazione, 1 (1982). See also R. Salvucci, Sviluppi della problematica del linguaggio nel XVIII secolo: Condillac, Rousseau, Smith (1982). A. S. Skinner: Adam Smith: Rhetoric and the Communication of Ideas in Methodological Controversy in Economics: Historical Essays, A. W. Coats ed. (1983). Languages: Articles on Considerations by C. J. Berry and S. K. Land in Journal of the History of Ideasrespectively 35 (1974), 1308; and 38 (1977), 67790.

257

INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME V: LECTURES ON JURISPRUDENCE [R.L. MEEK, D.D. RAPHAEL, AND P.G. STEIN]

1. Adam Smiths Lectures at Glasgow University


Adam Smith was elected to the Chair of Logic at Glasgow University on 9 January 1751, and admitted to the ofce on 16 January. He does not appear to have started lecturing at the University, however, until the beginning of the next academic session, in October 1751, when he embarked upon his rstand onlycourse of lectures to the Logic class. In the wellknown account of Smiths lectures at Glasgow which John Millar supplied to Dugald Stewart, this Logic course of 17512 is described as follows: In the Professorship of Logic, to which Mr Smith was appointed on his rst introduction into this University, he soon saw the necessity of departing widely from the plan that had been followed by his predecessors, and of directing the attention of his pupils to studies of a more interesting and useful nature than the logic and metaphysics of the schools. Accordingly, after exhibiting a general view of the powers of the mind, and explaining so much of the ancient logic as was requisite to gratify curiosity with respect to an articial method of reasoning, which had once occupied the universal attention of the learned, he dedicated all the rest of his time to the delivery of a system of rhetoric and belles lettres.1

258

This system of rhetoric and belles lettres, we may surmise, was based on the lectures on this subject which Smith had given at Edinburgh before coming to Glasgow, and was probably very similar to the course which he was later to deliver as a supplement to his Moral Philosophy course, and of which a students report has come down to us.2 Concerning the content of the preliminary part of the Logic course, howeverthat in which Smith exhibited a general view of the powers of the mind and explained so much of the ancient logic as was requisitewe know no more than Millar here tells us. In the 17512 session, Smith not only gave this course to his Logic class but also helped out in the teaching of the Moral Philosophy class. Thomas Craigie, the then Professor of Moral Philosophy, had fallen ill, and at a University Meeting held on 11 September 1751 it was agreed that in his absence the teaching of the Moral Philosophy class should be shared out according to the following arrangement: The Professor of Divinity, Mr. Rosse, Mr. Moor having in presence of the meeting, and Mr. Smith by his letter voluntarily agreed to give their assistance in the teaching both the publick and private classe in the following manner viz: the Professor undertakes to teach the Theologia Naturalis, and the rst book of Mr. Hutchesons Ethicks, and Mr. Smith the other two books de Jurisprudentia Naturali et Politicis, and Mr. Rosse and Mr. Moor to teach the hour allotted for the private classe, the meeting unanimouslie agreed to the said proposals . . .3 About the actual content of these lectures of Smiths on natural jurisprudence and politics4 we know nothing, although we do know that according to the testimony of Smith himself a number of the opinions put forward in them had already been the subjects of lectures he had read at Edinburgh in the previous winter, and that they were to continue to be the constant subjects of his lectures after 17512.5 In November 1751 Craigie died, and a few months later Smith was translated from his Chair of Logic to the now vacant Chair of Moral Philosophy. He was elected on 22 April 1752, and admitted on 29 April. His rst full course of lectures to the Moral Philosophy class, therefore, was delivered in the 17523 session. He continued lecturing to the Moral Philosophy class until he left Glasgow, about the middle of January 1764,6 to take up the position of tutor to the young Duke of Buccleuch. In order to obtain an overall view of the content of Smiths course in Moral Philosophy it is still necessary to go back to the account of it given by John Millar: About a year after his appointment to the Professorship of Logic, Mr Smith was elected to the chair of Moral Philosophy. His course of lectures on this subject was divided into four parts. The rst contained Natural Theology; in which he considered the proofs of the being and attributes of God, and those principles of the human mind upon which religion is founded. The second comprehended Ethics, strictly so called, and consisted chiey of the doctrines which he afterwards published in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. In the third part, he treated at more length of that

259

branch of morality which relates to justice, and which, being susceptible of precise and accurate rules, is for that reason capable of a full and particular explanation. Upon this subject he followed the plan that seems to be suggested by Montesquieu; endeavouring to trace the gradual progress of jurisprudence, both public and private, from the rudest to the most rened ages, and to point out the effects of those arts which contribute to subsistence, and to the accumulation of property, in producing correspondent improvements or alterations in law and government. This important branch of his labours he also intended to give to the public; but this intention, which is mentioned in the conclusion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he did not live to full. In the last part of his lectures, he examined those political regulations which are founded, not upon the principle of justice, but that of expediency, and which are calculated to increase the riches, the power, and the prosperity of a State. Under this view, he considered the political institutions relating to commerce, to nances, to ecclesiastical and military establishments. What he delivered on these subjects contained the substance of the work he afterwards published under the title of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.7 So far as it goes, this account would seem to be accurate and perceptive, but there is one point of some importance which it does not make clear. What Millar describes in the passage just quoted is the course of lectures given by Smith, in his capacity as Professor of Moral Philosophy, to what was called the public class in that subject. But Professors of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow also normally gave a supplementary course of lectures, on a different subject, to what was called the private class.8 The subjects upon which they lectured in this supplementary course, we are told,9 were not necessarily connected with those of their public lectures, but were yet so much connected with the immediate duty of their profession, as to be very useful to those who attended them. Hutcheson, for example, had employed these additional hours in explaining and illustrating the works of Arrian, Antoninus, and other Greek philosophers, and Reid was later to appropriate them to a further illustration of those doctrines which he afterwards published in his philosophical essays. Adam Smith employed them in delivering, once again, a course of lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres. A students report of Smiths private Rhetoric course, as it was delivered in the 17623 session, was discovered in Aberdeen in 1958 by the late Professor John M. Lothian,10 and a newly edited transcript of this manuscript will be published in volume iv of the present edition of Smiths Works and Correspondence. Turning back now to Millars account of Smiths public course in Moral Philosophy, we see that this course is described as having been divided into four parts. About the content of the rst of these (Natural Theology) we know nothing whatever, and about the second (Ethics, strictly so called) we know little more than Millar here tells usviz., that it consisted chiey of the doctrines of TMS.11 About the third and fourth parts, howeverat any rate in the form which they assumed in Smiths lectures during his last years at Glasgow12 we now know a great deal more, thanks to the discovery of the two reports of his lectures on Jurisprudence which it is the main purpose of this volume to present.
260

The term Jurisprudence, it should perhaps be explained, was normally used by Smith in a sense broad enough to encompass not only the third part of the Moral Philosophy course as Millar described it (that branch of morality which relates to justice), but also the fourth part (those political regulations which are founded, not upon the principle of justice, but that of expediency). In one of the two reports Jurisprudence is dened as the theory of the rules by which civil governments ought to be directed,13 and in the other as the theory of the general principles of law and government.14 Now the main objects of every system of law, in Smiths view, are the maintenance of justice, the provision of police in order to promote opulence, the raising of revenue, and the establishment of arms for the defence of the state. These four, then, could be regarded as the main branches or divisions of Jurisprudence as so dened; and this is the way in which the subject is in fact divided up in both the reports. Clearly the treatment of justice in the reports relates to the third part of Smiths Moral Philosophy course as Millar described it, and the treatment of police, revenue, and arms relates to the fourth and nal part of it.

2. The Two Reports of Smiths Jurisprudence Lectures


The rst of the two reports relates to Smiths Jurisprudence lectures in the 17623 session, and the second, in all probability, to the lectures given in the 17634 session. Hereafter these reports will usually be referred to as LJ(A) and LJ(B) respectively. It will be convenient to begin here with a description of LJ(B), which was the rst of the two reports to be discovered and which will already be familiar to a large number of readers in the version published many years ago by Professor Edwin Cannan. A reedited version of it is published below, under the title Report dated 1766. In 1895, Cannans attention was drawn to the existence, in the hands of an Edinburgh advocate, of a bound manuscript which according to the titlepage consisted of JURIS PRUDENCE or Notes from the Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms delivered in the University of Glasgow by Adam Smith Professor of Moral Philosophy. In the edition of this manuscript which Cannan brought out in 1896,15 he described its main physical characteristics as follows: [The] manuscript . . . forms an octavo book 9 in. high, 7 in. broad and 1 in. thick. It has a substantial calf binding, the sides of which, however, have completely parted company with the back . . . On the back there is some giltcrosshatching and the word JURIS PRUDENCE (thus divided between two lines) in gilt letters on a red lable. There are in all 192 leaves. Two of these are yleaves of dissimilar paper and have their fellows pasted on the insides of the cover, front and back. The rest all consist of paper of homogeneous character, watermarked L.V. Gerrevink. The manuscript is written on both sides of the paper in a rectangular space formed by four red ink lines previously ruled, which leave a margin of about three quarters of an inch. Besides the yleaves there are three blank leaves at the end and two at the beginning.

261

There is nothing to show conclusively whether the writing was rst executed on separate sheets subsequently bound up, or in a blank notebook afterwards rebound, or in the book as it appears at present.16 This was a careful and accurate description of the document, and not very much needs to be added to it today. The back of the binding was repaired in 1897, and the volume was rebound again (and the spine relettered) in 1969. As a result of these operations the two original endpapers and one if not both of the two original yleaves have disappeared.17 Discounting these, there are two blank leaves at the beginning of the volume; then one leaf on the recto of which the title is written; then 179 leaves (with the pages numbered consecutively from 1 to 358) on which the main text is written; then one leaf containing no writing (but with the usual margins ruled); then four leaves, with the pages unnumbered, on which the index is written (taking up seven of the eight pages); then nally three blank leavesmaking a total of 190 leaves in all. The new binding is very tight, and full particulars of the format of the volume could not be obtained without taking it apart. Cannan had no doubt that this document, as suggested on its titlepage, did in fact owe its origin to notes of Adam Smiths lectures on Jurisprudence at Glasgow University. The close correspondence between the text of the document and Millars description of the third and fourth parts of Smiths Moral Philosophy course, together with the existence of many parallel passages in WN,18 put this in Cannans opinion beyond question; and his judgement in this respect has been abundantly conrmed by everything that has happened in the eld of Smith scholarship since his daynot least by the recent discovery of LJ(A). The titlepage of LJ(B) bears the date MDCCLXVI (whereas Adam Smith left Glasgow in January 1764); the handwriting is ornate and elaborate; there are very few abbreviations; and some of the mistakes that are to be found would seem to have been more probably caused by misreading than by mishearing. These considerations led Cannan to the conclusiononce again abundantly justiedthat the manuscript was a fair copy made (presumably in 1766) by a professional copyist, and not the original notes taken at the lectures.19 The only question which worried Cannan in this connection was whether the copyist had copied directly from the original lecturenotes or from a rewritten version of these notes made later by the original notetaker. The scarcity of abbreviations, the relatively small number of obvious blunders, and the comparatively smooth ow of the English, strongly suggested the latter. Cannan was worried, however, by the facts (a) that the copyist had clearly taken great pains to make his pages correspond with the pages from which he was copying (presumably because the index already existed), and (b) that the amounts of material contained in a page were very unequal. These two facts taken together suggested to Cannan that it was at least possible that the copyist had copied directly from the original lecturenotes rather than from a rewritten version of them.20 In actual fact, however, the degree of inequality in the amount of material in a page is not quite as great as Cannan suggests, and certainly no greater than one would reasonably expect to nd in a students rewritten version of his lecturenotes.21 It seems very probable, then, that the copy was in fact made from a rewritten version.

262

The question of the purpose for which this rewritten version was made, however, is a rather more difcult one. Was it made by the original notetaker for his own use, or was it made (whether by him or by someone else at another remove) for sale? In those days, we know, manuscript copies of a popular professors lectures, transcribed from his students notebooks, were often kept for sale in the booksellers shops.22 An interesting comparison may be made here between LJ(A)a rewritten version almost certainly made by the original notetaker for his own use and not for saleand LJ(B). LJ(A), although so far as it goes it is much fuller than LJ(B), is very much less polished, in the sense that it contains many more abbreviations, grammatical and spelling errors, blank spaces, etc. LJ(A), again, faithfully reproduces many of the summaries of previous lectures which Smith seems normally to have given at the beginning of each new one, and often notes the specic date on which the relevant lecture was deliveredfeatures which are completely lacking in LJ(B). Nor is there in LJ(A) anything like the elaborate (and on the whole accurate) index which appears at the end of LJ(B). Considerations such as these, although not conclusive, do suggest the possibility that the rewritten version from which LJ(B) was copied had been prepared for sale, and therefore also the possibility that there were two or three steps between the original lecturenotes and the manuscript of LJ(B) itself. But what really matters, of course, is the reliability of the document: does it or does it not give a reasonably accurate report of what was actually said in the lectures at which the original notes were taken? Now that we have another set of notes to compare it with, we can answer this question with a fairly unqualied afrmative. LJ(B) is not quite as accurate and reliable as Cannan believed it to be; but if we make due allowance for its more summary character it is probably not much inferior to LJ(A) as a record of what may be assumed actually to have been said in the lectures.23 In which session, then, were the lectures delivered from which LJ(B) was ultimately derived?24 Cannan, in his perceptive comments on this question,25 declined to lay too much weight on the frequent references to the Seven Years War as the late or the last war, on the perfectly valid ground that it would be natural after the conclusion of peace for the reporter or the transcriber to alter the war or the present war into the late war . The reference to the ransom of the crew of the Litcheld,26 however, which took place in April 1760, clearly meant that it was almost certain that the lectures were not delivered before 17612. They could conceivably have been delivered in that session, but Cannan thought it more probable that they were delivered either in the portion of the academical session of 17634 which preceded Adam Smiths departure, or in the session of 17623 . . . More light can now be thrown on this question as a result of the discovery of LJ(A), which relates without any doubt (since many of the lectures are specically dated) to the 17623 session. The crucial point here is that in LJ(A) the order of treatment of the main subjects is radically different from that in LJ(B). The civilians, Smith is reported in LJ(B) as saying,27 begin with considering government and then treat of property and other rights. Others who have written on this subject begin with the latter and then consider family and civil government. There are several advantages peculiar to each of these methods, tho that of the civil law seems upon the whole preferable.

263

In LJ(B), then, Smith adopts the method of the civilians, beginning with government and then going on to deal with property and other rights. In LJ(A), by way of contrast, he adopts the method of the others who have written on this subject, beginning with property and other rights and then going on to deal with family and civil government. LJ(B), therefore, cannot possibly relate to the same year as LJ(A), whence it follows (given the decisive Litcheld reference) that it must relate either to 17612 or to 17634. And it can now fairly readily be shown that it is very unlikely to relate to 17612. There is a reference in LJ(B) to Florida being put into our hands;28 and a comparison of the passage in which this reference occurs with the corresponding passage (a much more extensive one) in LJ(A)29 shows that it must refer to the cession of Florida at the end of the Seven Years War by the Treaty of Paris in February 1763. This event, therefore, could not have been remarked upon in the 17612 session; and it thus seems almost certain that LJ(B) relates to 17634. Cannan, when speaking of the possibility that LJ(B) might relate to 17634, seemed to suggest that if this were so the lectures from which the notes were taken would have had to be delivered in the portion of that session which preceded Adam Smiths departure from Glasgow.30 But this is surely to take the words delivered . . . by Adam Smith on the titlepage of LJ(B) much too literally. After Smith left Glasgow, his usual course of lectures was carried on by one Thomas Young, with whom (at any rate according to Tytlers account) Smith left the notes from which he had been in use to deliver his prelections.31 Assuming, as would seem probable, that Young was in fact furnished by Smith with these notes and that he kept fairly closely to them in his lectures, it would have been perfectly possible for a student to take down, in the 17634 session, a set of lecturenotes from which a document possessing all the characteristics of LJ(B) could quite plausibly be derived. We turn now to LJ(A), an edited version of which is published for the rst time below, under the title Report of 17623. At various dates in the autumn of 1958, wrote the discover of the document, the late Professor John M. Lothian, remnants of what had once been the considerable countryhouse library of Whitehaugh were dispersed by auction in Aberdeen. In the eighteenth century Whitehaugh belonged to the Leith and later the ForbesLeith families. Among a number of Whitehaugh books and papers purchased by Professor Lothian at various dates at these sales were two sets of lecturen