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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
* 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 oeuvres 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, published 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
attentions, which he always recollected with particular gratitude.
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 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.
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 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
which a foreign country afforded him of illustrating his former theories.
Some of his peculiar notions too, with respect to the imitative arts, seem to have been much confirmed by his observations while abroad. In accounting for the pleasure we receive from these arts, it had early occurred to him as a fundamental principle, that a very great part of it arises from the difficulty of the imitation; a principle which was probably suggested to him by that of the difficulté surmontée by which some French critics had attempted to explain the effect of versification and of rhyme.* This principle Mr. Smith pushed to the greatest possible length, and referred to it, with singular ingenuity, a great variety of phenomena in all the different fine arts. It led him, however, to some conclusions, which appear, at first view at least, not a little paradoxical; and I cannot help thinking, that it warped his judgment in many of the opinions which he was accustomed to give on the subject of poetry:
The principles of Dramatic composition had more particularly attracted his attention; and the history of the theatre, both in ancient and modern times, had furnished him with some of the most remarkable facts on which his theory of the imitative arts was founded. From this theory it seemed to follow as a consequence, that the same circumstances which, in tragedy, give to blank verse an advantage over prose, should give to rhyme an advantage over blank verse ; and Mr. Smith had always inclined to that opinion. Nay, he had gone so far as to extend the same doctrine to comedy, and to regret that those excellent pictures of life and manners which the English stage affords, had not been executed after the model of the French school. The admiration with which he regarded the great dramatic authors of France tended to confirm him in these opinions ; and this admiration (resulting originally from the general character of his taste, which delighted more to remark that pliancy of genius which accommodates itself to established rules, than to wonder at the bolder flights of an undisciplined imagination) was increased to a great
* See the Preface to Voltaire's Edipe, Edit. of 1729.
degree, when he saw the beauties that had struck him in the closet, heightened by the utmost perfection of theatrical exhibition. In the last years of his life, he sometimes amused himself, at a leisure hour, in supporting his theoretical conclusions on these subjects, by the facts, which his subsequent studies and observations had suggested ; and he intended, if he had lived, to have prepared the result of these labors for the press. Of this work he has left for publication a short fragment; but he had not proceeded far enough to apply his doctrine to versification and to the theatre. As his notions, however, with respect to these were a favorite topic of his conversation, and were intimately connected with his general principles of criticism, it would have been improper to pass them over in this sketch of his life; and I even thought it proper to detail them at greater length than the comparative importance of the subject would have justified, if he had carried his plans into execution. Whether his love of system, added to his partiality for the French drama, may not have led him, in this instance, to generalize a little too much his conclusions, and to overlook some peculiarities in the language and versification of that country, I shall not take upon me to determine.
In October 1766, the Duke of Buccleugh returned to London. His Grace, to whom I am indebted for several particulars in the foregoing narrative, will, I hope, forgive the liberty I take in transcribing one paragraph in his own words: “In October 1766, we returned to London, after having spent near three years together, without the slightest disagreement or coolness ;-on my part, with every advantage that could be expected from the society of such a man. We continued to live in friendship till the hour of his death ; and I shall always remain with the impression of having lost a friend whom I loved and respected, not only for his great talents, but for every private virtue.'
The retirement in which Mr. Smith passed his next ten years, formed a striking contrast to the unsettled mode of life he had been for some time accustomed to, but was so congenial to his natural disposition, and to his first habits, that it was with the utmost difficulty