Life of Adam Smith eBook

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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 551 pages of information about Life of Adam Smith.
we have most absurdly established against ourselves in favour of almost all the different Classes of our own manufacturers.
Whatever the Irish mean to demand in this way, in the present situation of our affairs I should think it madness not to grant it.  Whatever they may demand, our manufacturers, unless the leading and principal men among them are properly dealt with beforehand, will probably oppose it.  That they may be so dealt with I know from experience, and that it may be done at little expense and with no great trouble.  I could even point to some persons who, I think, are fit and likely to deal with them successfully for this purpose.  I shall not say more upon this till I see you, which I shall do the first moment I can get out of this Town.
I am much honoured by Mr. Eden’s remembrance of me.  I beg you will present my most respectful compliments to him, and that you will believe me to be, my dear Lord, most faithfully yours,


     1st November 1779.

I cannot explain the allusion in the closing parts of the letter to the writer’s personal experience of the ease with which the opposition of manufacturers to proposed measures of public policy could be averted by sagacious management and a little expenditure of money.  Nor can I say what persons he had in view to recommend as likely to do this work successfully; but his advice seems to imply that he agreed with the political maxim that the opposition of the pocket is best met through the pocket.

He takes no notice of Dundas’s suggestion of a union with Great Britain, but we know from the Wealth of Nations that he was a strong advocate of a union—­not, of course, on Dundas’s ground that a union would better enable the English Parliament to counteract the effects of the competition of Irish pauper labour, but for a reason which will sound curiously perhaps in the middle of our present agitations, that a union would deliver the Irish people from the tyranny of an oppressive aristocracy, which was the great cause of that kingdom being then divided into “two hostile nations,” to use his words to Lord Carlisle, “the oppressors and the oppressed.”  He avers in the Wealth of Nations that “without a union with Great Britain the inhabitants of Ireland are not likely for many ages to consider themselves one people."[306]


[304] Morrison MSS.

[305] The Lord Advocate is usually addressed as My Lord.

[306] Book V. chap. iii.



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