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.


[55] The words ladles and ladler seem to have descended from a time when the exactions were made in kind by ladling the quantity out of the sack.

[56] Hamilton’s Reid, p. 43.

[57] Wealth of Nations, Book I. chap. ix.

[58] Muirhead’s Life of Watt, p. 470.

[59] Duncan’s Notes and Documents, p. 25.

[60] Burton, Life of Hume, ii. 59.

[61] Wealth of Nations, Book V. chap. i. art. iii.

[62] Stewart’s Works, x. 49.

[63] Burton’s Life of Hume, ii. 16.

[64] See Doran’s Annals of the Stage, ii. 377.



Smith was not only teacher in Glasgow, he was also learner, and the conditions of time and place were most favourable, in many important ways, for his instruction.  Had he remained at Oxford, he would probably never have been an economist; had he not spent so many of his best years in Glasgow, he would never have been such an eminent one.  It was amid the thickening problems of the rising trade of the Clyde, and the daily discussions they occasioned among the enterprising and intelligent merchants of the town, that he grew into a great economist.

It need scarce be said that the Glasgow of the middle of last century was a very different city from the Glasgow of to-day.  It was in size and appearance a mere provincial town of 23,000 inhabitants.  Broom still grew on the Broomielaw; a few cobles were the only craft on the river; and the rude wharf was the resort of idlers, watching the fishermen on the opposite side cast for salmon, and draw up netfuls on the green bank.  The Clyde was not deepened till 1768.  Before that the whole tonnage dues at Glasgow were only eight pounds a year, and for weeks together not a single vessel with a mast would be seen on the water.  St. Enoch Square was a private garden; Argyle Street an ill-kept country road; and the town herd still went his rounds every morning with his horn, calling the cattle from the Trongate and the Saltmarket to their pasture on the common meadows in the now densely-populated district of the Cowcaddens.

Glasgow in these its younger days struck every traveller chiefly for its beauty.  Mrs. Montagu thought it the most beautiful city in Great Britain, and Defoe, a few years before, said it was “the cleanest and beautifullest and best built city in Britain, London excepted.”  As Mrs. Bellamy approached it on the occasion I have mentioned in order to open the new theatre in 1764, she says “the magnificence of the buildings and the beauty of the river ...elated her heart”; and Smith himself, we know, once suffered for praising its charms.  It was at a London table, and Johnson was present, who, liking neither Smith nor his Scotch city, cut him short by

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