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.


[350] Morehead’s Life of the Rev. R. Morehead, p. 43.

[351] Add.  MSS., 32, 566.

[352] See above, pp. 189, 190, 205.

[353] Clayden’s Early Life of Samuel Rogers, p. 96.

[354] Clayden’s Early Life of Samuel Rogers, p. 90.

[355] Dyce’s Recollections of the Table-talk of Samuel Rogers, p. 45.

[356] Add.  MSS., 32, 566.

[357] Bentham’s Works, iii. 21.

[358] Bentham MSS., British Museum.



A revision of the Theory of Moral Sentiments was a task Smith had long had in contemplation.  The book had been thirty years before the world and had passed through five editions, but it had never undergone any revision or alteration whatever.  This was the task of the last year of the author’s life.  He made considerable changes, especially by way of addition, and though he wrote the additions, as Stewart informs us, while he was suffering under severe illness, he has never written anything better in point of literary style.  Before the new edition appeared there was a preliminary difference between author and publisher regarding the propriety of issuing the additions as the additions to the Wealth of Nations had been issued, in a separate form, for the use of those who already possessed copies of the previous editions of the book.  Cadell favoured that course, notwithstanding that it would obviously interfere with the sale of the new book, because he was unwilling to incur the charge of being illiberal in his dealings with the public.  But Smith refused to assent to it, for reasons quite apart from the sale, but connected, whatever they were, with “the nature of the work.”  He communicated his decision through Dugald Stewart, who was in London in May 1789 on his way to Paris, and Stewart reports the result of his interview with Cadell in the following letter, bearing the post stamp of 6th May 1789:—­

DEAR SIR—­I was so extremely hurried during the very short stay I made in London that I had not a moment’s time to write you till now.  The day after my arrival I called on Cadell, and luckily found Strachan (sic) with him.  They both assured me in the most positive terms that they had published no Edition of the Theory since the Fifth, which was printed in 1781, and that if a 6th has been mentioned in any of the newspapers, it must have been owing to a typographical mistake.  For your farther satisfaction Cadell stated the fact in his own handwriting on a little bit of paper which I send you enclosed.
I mentioned also to Cadell the resolution you had formed not to allow the Additions to the Theory to be printed separately, which he said embarrassed him much, as he had already
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