1781 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Adam Smith

Horace Walpole to William Mason, 5 February 1781; Letters, ed. Cunningham (1906) 7:511.



Not content with debasing and disgracing us as a nation by losing America, destroying our Empire, and making us the scorn and prey of Europe, the Scotch would annihilate our patriots, martyrs, heroes, and geniuses. Algernon Sidney, Lord Russell, King William, the Duke of Marlborough, Locke, are to be traduced and levelled, and with the aid of their fellow-labourer, Johnson, who spits at them while he tugs at the same oar, Milton, Addison, Prior, and Gray are to make way for the dull forgeries of Ossian, and such wights as Davy, and Johnny Home, Lord Kames, Lord Monboddo, and Adam Smith! — Oh! if you have a drop of English ink in your veins, rouse and revenge your country! Do not let us be run down and brazened out of all our virtue, genius, sense, and taste, by Laplanders and Boeotians, who never produced one original writers in verse or prose.