Life of Adam Smith eBook

John Rae (educator)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 551 pages of information about Life of Adam Smith.

[156] Hume Correspondence, R.S.E.  Library.

[157] Prevost, Notice de la Vie et des ecrits de George Louis Le Sage de Geneva, p. 226.

[158] Small’s Biographical Sketch of Adam Ferguson, p. 20.



Smith left Geneva in December for Paris, where he arrived, according to Dugald Stewart, about Christmas 1765.  The Rev. William Cole, who was in Paris in October of the same year, notes in his journal on the 26th of that month, that the Duke of Buccleugh arrived in Paris that day from Spa along with the Earl and Countess of Fife; but this must be a mistake, for Horace Walpole, who was also in Paris that autumn, writes on the 5th of December that the Duke was then expected to arrive in the following week, and as Walpole was staying in the hotel where the Duke and Smith stayed during their residence in that city—­the Hotel du Parc Royal in the Faubourg de St. Germain—­he probably wrote from authentic information about the engagement of their rooms.  It may be taken, therefore, that they arrived in Paris about the middle of December, just in time to have a week or two with Hume before he finally left Paris for London with Rousseau on the 3rd of January 1766.  Hume had been looking for Smith ever since midsummer.  As far back as the 5th of September he wrote, “I have been looking for you every day these three months,” but that expectation was probably founded on reports from Abbe Colbert, for Smith himself does not seem to have written Hume since the previous October, except the short note introducing Mr. Urquhart.  At any rate in this letter of September 1765 Hume, as if in reply to Smith’s account of his pupil’s improvement in his letter of October 1764, says, “Your satisfaction in your pupil gives me equal satisfaction.”  It is no doubt possible that Smith may have written letters in the interval which have been lost, but he had clearly written none for the previous three months, and it is most probable, with his general aversion to writing, that he wrote none for the four or five months before that.  Hume’s own object in breaking the long silence is, in the first place, to inform him that, having lost his place at the Embassy through the translation of his chief to the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, he should be obliged to return to England in October before Smith’s arrival in Paris; and in the next, to consult him on a new perplexity that was distressing him, whether he should not come back to Paris and spend the remainder of his days there.  In compensation for the loss of his place, he had obtained a pension of L900 a year, without office or duty of any kind—­“opulence and liberty,” as he calls it.  But opulence and liberty brought their own cares, and he was rent with temptations to belong to different nations.  “As a new vexation to temper my good fortune,” he writes to Smith, “I am in much perplexity about fixing

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Life of Adam Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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