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to be satisfied in an uncommon degree, and he always spoke of it with pleasure and gratitude. To the public, it was not perhaps a change equally fortunate; as it interrupted that studious leisure for which nature seems to have destined him, and in which alone he could have hoped to accomplish those literary projects which had flattered the ambition of his youthful genius.
The alteration, however, which, from this period, took place in his habits, was not without its advantages. He had hitherto lived chiefly within the walls of an University ; and although to a mind like his, the observation of human nature on the smallest scale is sufficient to convey a tolerably just conception of what passes on the great theatre of the world, yet it is not to be doubted, that the variety of scenes through which he afterwards passed, must have enriched his mind with many new ideas, and corrected many of those misapprehensions of life and manners which the best descriptions of them can scarcely fail to convey.—But whatever were the lights that his travels afforded to him as a student of human nature, they were probably useful in a still greater degree, in enabling him to perfect that system of political economy, of which he had already delivered the principles in his lectures at Glasgow, and which it was now the leading object of his studies to prepare for the public. The coincidence between some of these principles and the distinguishing tenets of the French economists, who were at that very time in the height of their reputation, and the intimacy in which he lived with some of the leaders of that sect, could not fail to assist him in methodizing and digesting his speculations; while the valuable collection of facts, accumulated by the zealous industry of their numerous adherents, furnished him with ample materials for illustrating and confirming his theoretical conclusions.
After leaving Glasgow, Mr. Smith joined the Duke of Buccleugh at London early in the year 1764, and set out with him for the Continent in the month of March following. At Dover they were met by Sir James Macdonald, who accompanied them to Paris, and with whom Mr. Smith laid the foundation of a friendship, which he
always mentioned with great sensibility, and of which he often lamented the short duration. The panegyrics with which the memory of this accomplished and amiable person has been honored by so many distinguished characters in the different countries of Europe, are a proof how well fitted his talents were to command general admiration. The esteem in which his abilities
and learning were held by Mr. Smith, is a testimony to his extraordinary merit of still superior value. Mr. Hume, too, seems, in this instance, to have partaken of his friend's enthusiasm. “ Were you and I together," says he in a letter to Mr. Smith, “we should shed tears at present for the death of poor Sir James Macdonald. We could not possibly have suffered a greater loss than in that valuable young man.”.
In this first visit to Paris, the Duke of Buccleugh and Mr. Smith employed only ten or twelve days,* after which they proceeded to Thoulouse, where they fixed their residence for eighteen months ; and where, in addition to the pleasure of an agreeable society, Mr. Smith had an opportunity of correcting and extending his information concerning the internal policy of France by the intimacy in which he lived with some of the principal persons of the Parliament.
From Thoulouse they went, by a pretty extensive tour, through the south of France to Ĝeneva. Here they
* The day after his arrival at Paris, Mr. Smith sent a formal resignation of his Professorship to the Rector of the University of Glasgow. "I never was more anxious,” says he in the conclusion of this letter, " for the good of the College, than at this moment; and I sincerely wish, that whoever is my successor may not only do credit to the office by his abilities, but be a comfort to the very excellent men with whom he is likely to spend his life, by the probity of his heart and the goodness of his temper.”
The following extract from the records of the University, which follows immediately after Mr. Smith's letter of resignation, is at once a testimony to his assiduity as a professer, and a proof of the just sense which that learned body entertained of the talents and worth of the colleague they had lost :
“ The meeting accept of Dr. Smith's resignation, in terms of the above letter, and the office of Professor of Moral Philosophy in this University is therefore hereby declared to be vacant. The University, at the same time, cannot help expressing their sincere regret at the removal of Dr. Smith, whose distinguished probity and amiable qualities procured him the esteem and affection of his colleagues; and whose uncommon genius, great abilities, and extensive learning, did so much honor to this society ; his elegant and ingenious Theory of Moral Sentiments having recommended him to the esteem of men of taste and literature throughout Europe. His happy talent in illustrating abstracted subjects, and faithful assiduity in communicating useful knowledge, distinguished him as a professor, and at once afforded the greatest pleasure and the most important instruction to the youth under his care." VOL. VII.
passed two months. The late Earl Stanhope, for whose learning and worth Mr. Smith entertained a sincere respect, was then an inhabitant of that republic.
About Christmas 1765, they returned to Paris, and remained there till October following. The society in which Mr. Smith spent these ten months, may be conceived from the advantages he enjoyed, in consequence of the recommendations of Mr. Hume. T'urgot, Quesnai, Necker, D'Alembert, Helvetius, Marmontel, Madame Riccoboni, were among the number of his acquaintances; and some of them he continued ever afterwards to reckon among his friends. From Madame d'Anville, the respectable mother of the late excellent and much lamented Duke of Rochefoucauld,* he received many attentions, which he always recollected with particular gratitude.
* The following letter, which has been very accidentally preserved, while it serves as a memorial of Mr. Smith's connexion with the family of Rochefoucauld is so expressive of the virtuous and liberal mind of the writer, that I am persuaded it will give pleasure to the society to record it in their transactions.
Paris, 3. Mars, 1778. “Le desir de se rappeller à votre souvenir, Monsieur, quand on a eu l'honneur de vous connoître, doit vous paroître fort naturel; permettez que nous saisissions pour cela, ma Mère et moi, l'occasion d'une edition nouvelle des Maximes de la Rochefoucauld, dont nous prenons la liberté de vous offrir un exemplaire. Vous voyez que nous n'avons point de rancune, puisque le mal que vous avez dit de lui dans la Théorie de Sentimens Moraux, ne nous einpêche point de vous envoyer ce même ouvrage. Il s'en est même fallu de peu que je ne fisse encore plus, car j'avois eu peutêtre la témérité d'entreprendre une traduction de votre Théorie : mais comme je venois de terminer la première partie, j'ai vu paroître la traduction de M. l'Abbé Blavert, et j'ai été forcé de renoncer au plaisir que j'aurois eu de faire passer dans ma langue un des meilleurs ouvrages de la vôtre.
« Il auroit bien fallu pour lors entreprendre une justification de mon grandpère. Peutêtre n'auroit-il pas été difficile, premièrement de l'excuser, en disant, qu'il avoit toujours vu les hommes à la Cour, et dans la guerre civile, deux théatres sur lesquels ils sont certainement plus mauvais qu'ailleurs ; et ensuite de justifier par la conduite personelle de l'auteur, les principes qui sont certainement trop généralisés dans son ouvrage. Il a pris la partie pour le tout ; et parceque les gens qu'il avoit eu le plus sous les yeux étoient animés par l'amour propre, il en a fait le mobile général de tous les hommes. Au reste, quoique son ouvrage merite à certains égards d’être combattu, il est cependant estimable même pour le fond, et beaucoup pour la forme.
“ Permettez moi de vous demander, si nous aurons bientôt une édition complette des æuvres de votre illustre ami M. Hume ? Nous l'avons sincèrement regretté.
“ Recevez, je vous supplie, l'expression sincère de tous les sentimens d’estime et d'attachement avec lesquels j'ai l'honneur d'être, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
Le Duc de la ROCHEFOUCAULD."
Mr. Smith's last intercourse with this excellent man was in the year 1789, when he informed him by means of a friend who happened to be then at Paris, that in the future editions of his Theory the name of Rochefoucauld should be no longer classed with that of Mandeville. In the enlarged edition accordingly of that work, pubjished a short time before his death, he has suppressed his censure of the author of the Maximes; who seems indeed (however exceptionable many of his principles may be) to have been actuated, both in his life and writings, by motives very different from those of Mandeville. The real scope of these Maxims is placed, I think, in a just light by the ingenious author of the notice prefixed to the edition of them published at Paris in 1778.
It is much to be regretted, that he preserved no journal of this very interesting period of his history; and such was his aversion to write letters, that I scarcely suppose any memorial of it exists in his correspondence with his friends. The extent and accuracy of his memory, in which he was equalled by few, made it of little consequence to himself to record in writing what he heard or saw; and from his anxiety before his death to destroy all the papers in his possession, he seems to have wished, that no materials should remain for his biographers, but what were furnished by the lasting monuments of his genius, and the exemplary worth of his private life.
The satisfaction he enjoyed in the conversation of Turgot may be easily imagined. Their opinions on the most essential points of political economy were the same; and they were both animated by the same zeal for the best interests of mankind. The favorite studies, too, of both had directed their inquiries to subjects on which the understandings of the ablest and the best informed are liable to be warped, to a great degree, by prejudice and passion; and on which, of consequence, a coincidence of judgment is peculiarly gratifying. We are told by one of the biographers of Turgot, that after his retreat from the ministry, he occupied his leisure in a philosophical correspondence with some of his old friends; and, in particular, that various letters on important subjects passed between him and Mr. Smith. I take notice of this anecdote chiefly as a proof of the intimacy which was understood to have subsisted between them ; for in other respects, the anecdote seems to me to be somewhat doubtful. It is scarcely to be supposed, that Mr. Smith would destroy the letters of such a correspondent as Turgot; and still less probable, that such an intercourse was carried on between them without the knowledge of any of Mr. Smith's friends.
From some inquiries that have been made at Paris by a gentleman of this Society since Mr. Smith's death, I have reason to believe, that no evidence of the correspondence exists among the papers of M. Turgot, and that the whole story has taken its rise from a report suggested by the knowledge of their former intimacy. This circumstance I think it of importance to mention, because a good deal of curiosity has been excited by the passage in question, with respect to the fate of the supposed
letters. Mr. Smith was also well known to M. Quesnai, the profound and original author of the Economical Table; a man (according to Mr. Smith's account of him) “ of the greatest modesty and simplicity ;” and whose system of political economy he has pronounced,“ with all its imperfections,” to be the nearest approximation to the truth that has yet been published on the principles of that very important science.” If he had not been prevented by Quesnai's death, Mr. Smith had once an intention (as he told me himself) to have inscribed to him his “Wealth of Nations."
It was not, however, merely the distinguished men who about this period fixed so splendid an æra in the literary history of France, that excited Mr. Smith's curiosity while he remained in Paris. His acquaintance with the polite literature both of ancient and modern times was extensive; and amidst his various other occupations, he had never neglected to cultivate a taste for the fine arts ;—less, it is probable, with a view to the peculiar enjoyments they convey, (though he was by no means without sensibility to their beauties,) than on account of their connexion with the general principles of the human mind; to an examination of which they afford the most pleasing of all avenues.
To those who speculate on this very delicate subject, a comparison of the modes of taste that prevail among different nations, affords a valuable collection of facts; and Mr. Smith, who was always disposed to ascribe to custom and fashion their full share in regulating the opinions of mankind with respect to beauty, may naturally be supposed to have availed himself of every opportunity