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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/11

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Smith
Smith
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ing an academy of design at Glasgow, and supported the university typefoundry established by his friend Wilson, the professor of astronomy. It is remarkable that Smith was active in the opposition carried on by the university and the town council to building a theatre in Glasgow. Smith approved of playgoing; he speaks strongly in the ‘Wealth of Nations’ against the fanatical dislike of the theatre, and agreed with Hume in supporting John Home in the agitation about ‘Douglas.’ He may, as Mr. Rae suggests, have had excellent reasons for discriminating between theatres at Glasgow and theatres at Paris; but his motives must be conjectural. Smith also took a leading part in protesting against the claim of a professor to vote upon his own election to another professorship, and in favour of the deprivation of another for going abroad with a pupil in defiance of the refusal of his colleagues to grant leave of absence.

Smith joined in the social recreations characteristic of the time. He belonged to a club founded by Andrew Cochrane, provost of Glasgow, for the discussion of trade (Carlyle, Autobiogr. p. 73). Sir James Stewart Denham [q. v.] found soon afterwards that the Glasgow merchants had been converted by Smith to free-trade in corn; and such matters had doubtless been discussed at the club. Smith was also a member of the Literary Society of Glasgow, founded in 1752; and on 23 Jan. 1753 read a paper upon Hume's ‘Essays on Commerce’ (Maitland Club Notes and Documents). He and his friend Joseph Black, the chemist, joined the weekly dinners of the ‘Anderston Club,’ and Watt testifies that he was kindly welcomed at this club by his superiors in education and position. Smith's orthodoxy seems to have been a little suspected at Glasgow, partly on account of his friendship with Hume.

It does not appear precisely at what time this friendship began. Hume did not settle at Edinburgh until Smith was leaving for Glasgow. In 1752 they were in correspondence, and Hume was consulting Smith about his essays and his projected history. Smith frequently visited his friend at Edinburgh. He was elected a member of the Philosophical Society, to which Hume was the secretary upon its revival in the same year; and in 1754 was one of fifteen persons present at the first meeting of the Select Society, started by the painter Allan Ramsay, which became the ‘Edinburgh Society for encouraging Arts, Sciences, Manufactures, and Agriculture in Scotland.’ Smith presided at a meeting on 19 June 1754; and gave notice of discussions upon naturalisation and upon the policy of bounties for the export of corn. Many economic topics were discussed at this society (see Scots Mag. for 1757), which also, like the Society of Arts (founded in 1753 in London), offered premiums in support of its objects and manufactures. It moreover proposed to teach Scots to write English, and incurred ridicule, which probably led to its extinction in 1765 (see Campbell's ‘Ellenborough’ in Lives of the Chancellors). Smith also contributed to the ‘Edinburgh Review’ of which two numbers only appeared. He reviewed Johnson's ‘Dictionary’ in the first number, and in the second proposed an extension of the ‘Review’ to foreign literature, adding an account of the recent writings of French celebrities, including Rousseau's ‘Discourse on Inequality.’ Suspicions as to the orthodoxy of the writers, and an erroneous belief that Hume was concerned in it, led to the discontinuance of the ‘Review’ (Tytler, Life of Kames, i. 233). In 1758 Hume was anxious that Smith should succeed to an expected vacancy in the chair of the ‘Law of Nature and Nations,’ in the gift of the crown. The holder, he thought, was willing to resign it for 800l., and ‘the foul mouths of all the roarers against heresy’ could be easily stopped. Smith, however, did not become a candidate. In 1762 Smith was an original member of the ‘Poker Club,’ so called because intended to stir up public opinion on behalf of a Scottish militia, though in practice it seems to have done little beyond promoting conviviality.

In 1759 Smith published his ‘Theory of the Moral Sentiments.’ The book was warmly welcomed by Hume, who reported its favourable reception in London (Letter of 12 April 1759), and was highly praised in the ‘Annual Register’ in an article attributed to Burke. Smith was henceforth recognised as one of the first authors of the day. He visited London for the first time in 1761. It was probably on this occasion (see Rae, p. 153) that he accompanied Lord Shelburne on the journey, and urged his principles with such ‘benevolence’ and ‘eloquence’ as permanently to affect the mind of his companion (Stewart, Works, x. 95). It is probable also that a famous interview took place at this time with Dr. Johnson. They certainly had a rough altercation at the house of William Strahan, Smith's publisher. Scott afterwards told a story according to which the two moralists met at Glasgow, and ended a discussion relating to Smith's account of Hume's last illness by giving each other the lie in the coarsest terms. The story involves palpable anachronisms. as Johnson's only