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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, “ibe 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 inser 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 stail 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 10 have done more, and there were materials in his manuscripts
out of which he could have made much; but he had not time for it, and all was lost to the world. Will such governments as that of England ever become sufficiently enlightened to withdraw some portion of the immense amount now spent in prizes for bloodshed, and appropriate it to the support of those who, in a day of higher civilization, will be at once the glory and the shame of their country? a country which knows its true interest and honor no better than to lavish dukedoms and princely fortunes on Marlborough and Wellington, while these men, in every respect of mind and character immeasurably above mere soldiers, are thought highly blessed to receive from it enough to keep body and soul together in the dreary winter of their days.
Nothing can be more attractive than the account which Lord Brougham gives of Smith's disposition; his benevolence was often carried beyond his means, and always delicate in its regard to the feelings of others. His principles of integrity were firm and high. The thoughtfulness of study, the demands of ill health, had no tendency to make him selfish, and the approaches of age did not chill the warmth of his affections. His mother lived with him till her death, in 1784; and after her death, his cousin, Miss Douglas, took charge of his family for the four succeeding years. Her decease, in 1788, deprived him of most of the comforts of his hospitable home; but he lingered on with broken health and spirits, though with an equal mind, till 1790, when a painful disorder brought him down to the grave. A few days before he died, several distinguished friends who were accustomed to sup with him on Sunday were with him; when, finding himself unable to go with them to the table, he said, - "I believe we must adjourn this meeting to some other place"; after which they never met again. His complaints were of the kind which are brought on by over-exertion of the brain and the inactivity of a literary life. At one time he believed he had found a panacea for his diseases in tar-water, which was recommended by so great an authority as Berkeley, and was hailed with as much enthusiasm as sundry other nostrums, each of which works miracles for the time, though unfortunately its wonders and glories are too good to last. The history of all such inventions and discoveries is written in two passages of his letters. In one he says, "Tar-water is a remedy in vogue here for almost all diseases; it has perfectly cured me of an
inveterate scurvy and shaking in the head.” But not long after this happy restoration, he says, that he has had those complaints as long as he remembers any thing, and “the tar-water has not removed them."
The letter of Adam Smith in which he describes the closing life of Hume has been the subject of much remark, not very complimentary in its tone ; for in former days, many, who manifested no other interest in Christianity, were furious against unbelievers, and nothing could be more unscrupulous than the manner in which they abused those sinners, by way of giving them a taste of the religion of love. Few men have ever received so much of this friendly attention as Humne ; his crime seemed to be, that he was not so wicked as, in their opinion, an infidel ought to be. Of this offence he was certainly guilty; and so odious did it make him, that it required some courage in the good-natured Boswell, even under Johnson's broadside, to tell him that he was better than his books," - a eulogy which, proceeding from such a quarter, might, one would think, have turned his brain for ever. Now, though religionists at the time had no patience with his serenity and cheerfulness, still, if he possessed that equanimity in his closing hour, there was no good reason why his friend should not mention it even in words of praise. It is true, he had no right understanding of the religious relations in which he stood ; but this should be dealt with as a misfortune, rather than as one of the seven deadly sins. Those who press their censures beyond the bounds of justice always throw the general sympathy on the opposite side. What Dr. Smith's religious opinions were, it is not easy to say ; there are none of his writings in which he has disclosed them. Lord Brougham thinks that there are allusions enough to a Divine Providence and the hopes of a future state to remove all doubts on the subject; but if he was alienated from Christianity, and we have some fears that he was, it was probably owing in part to the abuse which Christians, so called, had heaped without measure on his friend.
The approach of Lavoisier, who comes next in order or disorder, whichever it may be, excites Lord Brougham to a strain of condemnation for which he took the pitch in bis former volume ; not that the French chemist was not great, and in many respects good ; but on account of his propensity to appropriate the discoveries of others, as if every thing which came to light in the domain of his favorite science must necessarily be his own. He was born in a condition of life which makes his devotion to science very creditable to him ; being the son of a farmer-general, a kind of official who enjoyed great opportunities for gathering riches, and was usually not backward to improve them. The son had a certainty of succeeding to the fortune and post of his father, when that worthy should go to answer for the use of his wealth and the manner in which he had made it. Of course he enjoyed the best means of education which France afforded ; studying astronomy with La Caille, botany with Jussieu, and chemistry with Rouelle. He gained several prizes for his success in classical pursuits ; but his mind was bent in another direction. When he was twenty-one years of age, a prize was offered by M. de Sartine, the well known chief of police in Paris, for information as to the most efficient, readiest, and cheapest means of lighting a city. The prize was divided among three other claimants, but Lavoisier's paper was so highly appreciated that it was printed and honorably mentioned, and a gold medal was publicly presented to him by order of the king. At first he seemed inclined to devote himself to geology, and had collected materials for a work on the revolutions of the globe ; but recent discoveries in chemistry arrested his attention, and he first presented himself as a candidate for its honors, in an analysis of Gypsum. In this, together with much that was original and valuable, he is said to have taken credit, in substance, for what had been ascertained by others before him, thus giving an early indication of that unscrupulousness for which bis Lordship pours a vial
a of wrath upon his head. The times afforded strong temptation to such a taste, and easy means of indulging it. The scientific world were dazzled by the successes of Black, Cavendish, and Priestley. Lavoisier filled his house with the best instruments, and kept it open to all who were interested in those studies. Having men of science always about him, with whom he discussed all subjects to which his attention was directed, it was natural that he should take advantage of their suggestions, and that, when travelling over the same path of experiment in which others bad gone before, he should not always remember the extent of his obligations. Besides, it should be remembered that the same discovery or invention VOL. LXIV. NO. 134.