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The Life of Adam Smith$
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Ian Simpson Ross

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198288213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198288212.001.0001

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Dialogue With a Dying Man

Dialogue With a Dying Man

(p.289) 17 Dialogue With a Dying Man
The Life of Adam Smith

Ian Simpson Ross

Oxford University Press

Smith was devoted in his attentions to Hume as he lay dying, but, ever the man of prudence, gave his best friend some pain through unwillingness to see through the press the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. In the event, Smith was violently abused by Christians for describing Hume in a published letter as approaching as near to the idea of a ‘perfectly wise and virtuous man’ as human weakness permits. Smith would have been in further trouble if his 1778 Machiavellian advice about a solution to the American problem had been published, for it advocated returning Canada to the French, and Florida to the Spaniards, to ensure that independent Americans would become allies of Britain.

Keywords:   Christians, independent, prudence, virtuous, wise

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