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the existing records of it are quite too few to sustain a confident opinion.
When Lord Brougham speaks of Johnson's conversation as no conversation in any proper sense of the word, as destitute of all'free interchange of thought, and allowing no free discussion of sentiments and opinions, he is evidently misled by Boswell's record, for that worthy did not care to set down any thing but what Johnson said; the remarks of others were introduced only when they served as suggestions for his own. It would have been inhuman to require of him to treasure up all the lifeless and indifferent things which were said, merely for the sake of keeping the entireness of the conversation. And yet the prominence which is thus given to the remarks of Johnson makes them appear oracular and dictatorial, as if to hear what he would say was the only object and concern of the whole party. Now Boswell had this feeling, that it was the province of all others to listen, and Johnson's alone to speak; but others doubtless viewed the matter in a different light; and these were like all other conversations, in which each one took his share, while Johnson bore the most distinguished part, as indeed he would, were he living in any circle of the present day. Let the attempt be made to record the sayings of any other master of conversation, -Sir James Mackintosh, for example, and one easily sees that in these social efforts Johnson has no brother near his throne.
Though Lord Brougham, in his particular criticisms on Dr. Johnson's mind and character, is not always entirely just, his summary of the whole is given in terms to which no objection can be made. He says, that those who saw him but once or twice formed an erroneous estimate of his temper, which was rather kindly and sociable, and not at all sullen or morose; he allows that Johnson, to the last, had nothing of that severity and querulousness which the old are so apt to feel. He admits that he was friendly, actively so, in the highest degree,-that he was even imprudently charitable, that he was strictly and always just, that his love of truth was wonderful, in matters both small and great, and that his habitual piety, his sense of his own unworthiness, and his generally blameless life entitled him to a place among the good and great, while he showed his right appreciation of this world's honors by attaching more importance to his worth than to his fame. Certainly this is high praise, and such as few can ever
deserve. But we do not see in this writer the hearty sympathy with which Carlyle, for example, enters into the struggles and sorrows of "brave old Samuel," admires the heroism and manly independence of his bearing, and does not upbraid him with the coarseness of his manners, out of respect for the firm energy with which, through his dreary voyage of life, he forced his strained and shattered vessel, "built in the eclipse," through the dark and resisting sea.
Next in order is Adam Smith, who is represented in Croker's Boswell, the main characteristic of which is a brave neglect of dates and all kinds of precision, as having come in conflict with Johnson, when the latter was on his Northern tour. It is said that the subject of difference was Smith's account of Hume's last sickness; that Johnson, with his usual benignity, told Smith that he lied, and that he of the Moral Sentiments, in return, applied to the moralist a term which properly belongs to younger branches of the canine race, and is not often, we believe, used in the best society with respect to them, though of this we speak doubtfully, having no means in our solitary attic of knowing what refinements may have been introduced by the elegant literature of the day. It is a pity to disturb the story of this classical communion; but as Johnson was in Scotland in 1773, and Hume died in 1776, it was certainly premature in the Doctor to take offence three years before offence was given. In fact, this slight anachronism brings the authenticity of the whole account into serious question; not, however, to the disparagement of Sir Walter Scott, whom Lord Brougham is inclined to blame for it. He indeed reported it to Croker; but he said distinctly that he had it from Professor John Millar, to whom, therefore, the responsibility belongs. It was no doubt an imaginative picture of what the meeting of these two great men, if they came together, was likely to have been, dealing with the future as Mr. Landor brings up the voices of the past.
Not much is known of the early days of Adam Smith, save that he was stolen by gypsies in his childhood, but soon happily rescued, and that his delicate health in youth drove him to the usual resource of books and study. Having obtained an exhibition for Baliol College, he spent seven years at Oxford, but afterwards retained very little reverence and affection for that time-honored institution. Of the enlargement of mind which then distinguished it some judg
ment may be formed from the fact that he was sharply reprimanded for reading Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, and the ray of light which was struggling in at the keyhole was extinguished by taking such works away. At the age of twenty-nine, he filled the chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, a place for which he was admirably suited by his power of communication as well as by the habits of his mind, as he spoke with great fluency when once engaged in his subject, and was listened to with the enthusiasm which his ability, accompanied by a popular manner, might be expected to inspire. It is much to be regretted, that his lectures were destroyed by his own hand before he died. The course of Natural Theology was one which would have great interest for readers of the present day; and such was the variety of suggestion always flowing from his active and fertile mind, that every part must have contained much to interest and instruct mankind.
It was in 1759 that Adam Smith published his Theory of Moral Sentiments, a work so eloquent and interesting that it could not fail to meet with immediate and general success. This was the case in Great Britain, though, as Grimm tells us, it failed entirely in Paris, a region where moral sentiments are generally in but little demand. It is true that the leading principle of the work, resolving all moral approbation into sympathy, is quite too narrow to be true, as would be felt at once by any thoughtful reader; but considered as a treatise on sympathy, or a view of some aspects of human nature, seen with searching discrimination, and presented in a rich and fascinating style, it would not be easy to say too much in its praise. One effect of the fame of this work was to recommend him to Charles Townshend, who had married the Duchess of Buccleuch, and who employed him to accompany the young duke, her son, upon his travels. This gave him an opportunity of forming an acquaintance with the eminent men upon the continent, and ultimately led to his appointment as a revenue officer, one of those splendid rewards of intellectual greatness which are held forth as a bounty to such efforts in England, and of late in this country. There, the iron-headed wolves who rob and murder in the service of the state are heaped with estates, titles, and orders, while such men as Burns are made excisemen at the rate of seventy pounds a year. Here, men of fine talent and
manly understanding may peradventure have a place in the custom-house, while all rich pastures are carefully reserved for the worthless cattle who move in the droves of party.
There was another less questionable advantage which Dr. Smith secured by means of his residence abroad; this was the acquaintance of distinguished men, particularly in France, where he found those whose tastes and investigations were similar to his own. Among these was Quesnay, of whom we hear in Marmontel's Memoirs, who had acquired a great reputation by his writings on political economy, a science which had attracted attention, in its various parts, from the middle of the last century, and which he was endeavouring to reduce to a systematic and practical form. Though the public at large were unable to comprehend the point and value of Quesnay's suggestions, he was admired by such men as Condorcet, Turgot, and the elder Mirabeau, "the crabbed old friend of man." Dr. Smith had such an opinion of his ability and excellence, that he would have dedicated the Wealth of Nations to him, if Quesnay had lived to receive the attention. He was not sufficiently master of the French language to speak it fluently; but he was able to communicate with such men as this, though not to chatter with the apes and peacocks of fashionable circles, a privation, however, which he bore with great fortitude.
About a dozen years after this European tour, appeared the celebrated Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, a work which is the surest foundation of his fame; for, although it was anticipated in its doctrines by the French and Italian philosophers, it was so marked, as Hume said, by depth, solidity, acuteness, and power of illustration, that it placed him at the head of all who had attended to this great subject, not even excepting the historian himself, whose own essays upon these questions possessed all the merits which he delighted to ascribe to those of his friend. It is not to be understood that Dr. Smith's views were borrowed; his way was to elaborate those truths for himself, in the solitude and silence of his own mind. If he was indebted to any one, it was probably to Hume, whose essays may have been the means of turning his attention to these inquiries. In the year when those remarkable essays were published, he began to lecture on political economy in Glasgow ; and from the character of his intellectual life, we may readily
infer that his views were original in himself, though others may at the same time have reached conclusions resembling his own.
It was shortly after the publication of this great work that he received the appointment of commissioner of the customs; a compliment about as adequate to his merits and claims as if Le Verrier, in acknowledgment of his late scientific exploit, should be appointed to superintend a church-clock in his native city. It gave him a subsistence, indeed, but the duties of the office were incessant and vexatious, peculiarly unsuited to one who was remarkable for his absence of mind, an infirmity carried so far that he would often talk in company, perfectly unconscious of their presence, and in some instances he would enlighten those about him as to his opinion of their merits, disclosing much more than they delighted to know. He moved through the streets with his hands behind him and his head in the air, wholly unconscious of any obstructions that might be in his way. On one occasion, he overturned the stall of a fiery old woman, who, finding him perfectly unmoved by her tempest of salutations, caught him by his garment, saying,-"Speak to me, or I shall die." It is rather singular, that, with these habits, he could accomplish any thing in the way of official duty; and the beauty and fitness of such rewards of intellectual greatness were manifested in the necessity which it brought with it, of suspending those labors of the mind which, though they would not answer for the custom-house, might have enlightened and blessed the world. Rich and active as his mind was, the preparation of his great works required great expense of labor and time. His habit of composition, too, was laborious and slow; it never became easier by practice, but, as he told Mr. Stewart not long before his death, he always wrote with the same difficulty as at first; or, perhaps we should say, he spoke ; for, instead of writing with his own hand, he employed an amanuensis, to whom he dictated as he walked about the room. He was unfortunately fastidious in his judgment of his own works; he had eighteen folio volumes of his own writing, which he ordered to be destroyed before his death. His friends promised that it should be done; but he was not satisfied till the sacrifice was actually made, and the labor of so many years was reduced to dust and ashes. He said that he meant to have done more, and there were materials in his manuscripts