1829 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Adam Smith

Walter Scott to John Wilson Croker, 10 January 1829; The Croker Papers, ed. Louis J. Jennings (1884) 1:430.



At Glasgow Johnson had a meeting with Smith (Adam Smith), which terminated strangely. John Millar used to report that Smith, obviously much disappointed, came into a party who were playing at cards. The Doctor's appearance suspended the amusement, for as all knew he was about to meet Johnson that evening, every one was curious to hear what had passed. Adam Smith, whose temper seemed much ruffled, answered only at first, "He is a brute! he is a brute!" Upon closer examination, it appeared that Dr. Johnson no sooner saw Smith than he brought forward a charge against him for something in his famous letter on the death of Hume. Smith said he had vindicated the truth of the statement. "And what did the Doctor say?" was the universal query: "Why, he said — he said" said Smith, with the deepest impression of resentment, "he said — 'You lie!'" "And what did you reply?" "I said, 'You are a son of a b—h!'" On such terms did these two great moralists meet and part, and such was the classic dialogue betwixt them.