It is now nearly one hundred and fifty years since the publication of the Wealth of Nations and the Declaration of American Independence. The two events, closely associated in time, recall each other; for in his famous chapter on colonies Adam Smith predicted, with little apparent regret, the loss of the American colonies, and outlined the project of an empire which he thought could have been preserved and been worth preserving. That chapter, though it did not influence the course of the controversy which called it forth, nor, for a time, the colonial policy of Great Britain, has become, none the less, a landmark in the history of the British Empire. After Adam Smith had written, it was possible to think of colonies in a new way, though it was still not impossible to treat them in the old. The united empire of which he dreamed never became a fact, or even a political programme, but the ideas which he advanced bore their fruit in general opinion, and the spirit in which he wrote was in due course to animate a generation of colonial reformers and to bring forth a new and better colonial policy. Durham and his friends did not advocate Smith's imperial Parliament, the “States General of the British Empire,” and they did advocate imperial control of colonial trade, and not his “natural system of perfect liberty and justice”; but one may believe that the faith in the future of the British Empire which inspires the speeches of Molesworth and Buller, the Report on Canada and the Art of Colonization, owed some of its vitality to the courageous Utopia imagined in the Wealth of Nations.