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.
DEAR SIR—­Mr. Logan, a clergyman of uncommon learning, taste, and ingenuity, but who cannot easily submit to the puritanical spirit of this country, quits his charge and proposes to settle in London, where he will probably exercise what may be called the trade of a man of letters.  He has published a few poems, of which several have great merit, and which are probably not unknown to you.  He has likewise published a tragedy, which I cannot say I admire in the least.  He has another in manuscript, founded and almost translated from a French drama, which is much better.  But the best of all his works which I have seen are some lectures upon universal history, which were read here some years ago, but which, notwithstanding they were approved and even admired by some of the best and most impartial judges, were run down by the prevalence of a hostile literary faction, to the leaders of which he had imprudently given some personal offence.  Give me leave to recommend him most earnestly to your countenance and protection.  If he was employed on a review he would be an excellent hand for giving an account of all books of taste, of history, and of moral and abstract philosophy.—­I ever am, my dear sir, most faithfully and affectionately yours,

     ADAM SMITH.[337]

     EDINBURGH, 29th September 1785.

The lectures which Smith praises so highly were published in 1779, and are interesting as one of the first adventures in what was afterwards known as the philosophy of history.  But his memory rests now on his poems, which Smith thought less of, and especially on his Ode to the Cuckoo, which he has been accused so often of stealing from his deceased friend Michael Bruce, but to which his title has at last been put beyond all doubt by Mr. Small’s publication of a letter, written to Principal Baird in 1791, by Dr. Robertson of Dalmeny, who acted as joint editor with him of their common friend Bruce’s poems.[338]


[327] Bisset’s Life of Burke, ii. 429.

[328] Bisset’s Life of Burke, ii. 429.

[329] Innes’s Memoir of Dalzel in Dalzel’s History of University of Edinburgh, i. 42.

[330] Add.  MSS., 32,567.

[331] Best’s Anecdotes, p. 25.

[332] Clayden’s Early Life of Samuel Rogers, p. 92.

[333] Dalzel’s History of the University of Edinburgh, i. 42.

[334] Edinburgh University Library.

[335] See above, p. 361.

[336] See above, p. 243.

[337] Morrison MSS.

[338] Small, Michael Bruce and the Ode to the Cuckoo, p. 7.



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