Adam Smith project: letters to the Edinburgh Review

from the correspondence of adam smith to the edinburgh review

It gives me pleasure to see a work so generally useful, as that which you have undertaken, likely to be so well executed in this country. I am afraid, however, you will find it impossible to support it with any degree of spirit, while you confine yourselves almost entirely to an account of the books published in Scotland. This country, which is but just beginning to attempt figuring in the learned world, produces as yet so few works of reputation, that it is scarce possible a paper which criticises upon them chiefly, should interest the public for any considerable time. The singular absurdity of some performances which you have so well represented in your first number, might divert your readers for once: But no eloquence could support a paper which consisted chiefly of accounts of such performances. . . . 

— Adam Smith to the Edinburgh Review, 1755;
EE letter ID: smitadEE0010001a1c


The present undertaking is very extensive. A dictionary of the English language, however useful, or rather necessary, has never been hitherto attempted with the least degree of success. To explain hard words and terms of art seems to have been the chief purpose of all the former compositions which have borne the title of English dictionaries. Mr. Johnson has extended his views much farther, and has made a very full collection of all the different meanings of each English word, justified by examples from authors of good reputation. When we compare this book with other dictionaries, the merit of its author appears very extraordinary. . . . 

— Adam Smith to the Edinburgh Review, 1755;
EE letter ID: smitadEE0010002a1c

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