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will admit in its present rude state, in my humble judgment. Such as it is, it could not, perhaps, be safely adopted at once. At least, one would be cautious after what has happened in France. Had it been adopted there, however, instead of the more extended and more complicated one, much mischief would probably have been prevented.
Such speculations as these cannot be unimportant, because, if the present war do not terminate in the subjection and partition of France, we may all be called to act upon them.
The application to practice is that which is most difficult, and depends on circumstances that it is impossible to appreciate fully beforehand.
If, on the other hand, the league of despots prosper, our schemes of reform may sleep one hundred, or perhaps one thousand years.
In the mean time, the war is producing here the most fatal effects. The first merchant in Liverpool has failed, and many others must follow. Private credit is entirely at a stand.
The manufacturers of Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield, are altogether stagnant. God knows what will be the issue.
In London, the failures already amount to eight millions of money; and sixteen different
houses have failed in Bristol, one for half a million.
Such are the first fruits of this ill-omened war!
I beg to offer my very kind respects to Lady Maxwell, and to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson, who I am very sorry to hear are not to be with you in May
I am, my dear Sir,
Extract from a Letter to Francis Trench, Esq.
dated Liverpool, September 16. 1793.
- The bells are ringing for the capture of Toulon, which I consider as nothing at all to
Our situation becomes every day more and more perilous. There has been most bloody work in Flanders. I think there never was a time in which a wise man had more cause to be serious. The minds of men become daily more savage, and get inured to the horrible work of slaughter, of which every day brings fresh accounts. What is to happen in this country I cannot tell. Vast bodies of men are preparing to emigrate, chiefly, as you may suppose, dissenters; but the threatened rupture with America may deprive them of this resource. At this instant German politics govern England, and the fate of the human race depends on the independence of France being preserved, frantic and guilty though she be.
I fear we shall have troubles in England. I should not tremble at the idea, if I were single like yourself. The actor in civil commotions, who can appeal to Heaven for the justness of his cause, and has nothing to fear but personal danger, is not in my eye an object of pity. But what one looks at with peculiar grief and sorrow is, the dissolution of all moral feelings on every side, the utter extravagance of jarring opinions and of conflicting crimes, and the danger of a brave and enlightened man being obliged in
(The remainder of the letter has been probably lost, as it did not come into the Editor's possession with the others to the same friend, after the death of the latter.)
To Dugald Stewart, Esq., Edinburgh,
Liverpool, July 14. 1794. DEAR SIR, I received your letter of the 22d of June with great satisfaction. The very obliging offer you make me of a copy of your Memoirs of Dr. Smith, I am much flattered by. Every thing that respects so distinguished a man as Dr. Adam Smith is interesting, and the quarter from which his Memoirs come renders them more interesting still.
Accident has made me acquainted with many anecdotes of Dr. Smith, and many particulars of his private life. The Honourable T. Fitzmaurice, brother of the Marquis of Lansdown, who died in October last, was for many years of the latter part of his life a valetudinarian, and under my
He was a man of singular habits and character, with some traits of a superior, though irregular, mind. His conversation turned much on his early life, and particularly on the period he spent under Dr. Smith's roof at Glasgow. Another source from which I have heard much of Dr. Smith, was the information of a Captain Lloyd, who was much in his intimacy in France; and who passed the whole time that he spent at Abbeville with the Duke of Buccleugh, in his society. Captain Lloyd was bred a soldier, but left the army early. He is one of the most interesting and most accomplished men I ever knew. A scholar of extraordinary acquirements, perfectly polite, serious, simple, modest, and reserved. Dr. Smith and he, I could perceive from many circumstances, were on a footing of great intimacy; and many curious particulars of the Doctor's conduct he has related.
Dr. Smith, it seems, while at Abbeville, was deeply in love with an English lady there. What seems perhaps more singular, a French Marquise, a woman of talents and esprit, was smitten, or thought herself smitten, with the Doctor, and made violent attempts to obtain his friendship. She was just come from Paris, where all the women were running after Mr. Hume. She had heard that Mr. Smith was Mr. Hume's particular friend, and almost as great a philosopher as he. She was determined to obtain his friendship; but after various attempts was obliged to give the matter up. Dr. Smith had not the easy and natural manner of Mr. Hume, which accommodated itself to all circumstances. He was abstracted and inattentive. He