Smith, Adam (1723-1790)

Biography/History

Scottish economist and philosopher. b. Kirkcaldy, 1723. Noted for his published treatise, The Wealth of Nations, which is widely regarded as the first masterpiece in political economy. Ed. Glasgow and Oxford. 1751 appointed Professor of Logic at Glasgow University, later transferring to the Chair of Moral Philosophy, in 1752. 1759 published Theory of Moral Sentiments. 1764-66 tutored Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch in France coming into contact with leading philosophers and writers, including Voltaire. From 1773, maintained a frequent residence in London and in 1775 was elected a member of Dr Johnson’s Literary Club. After a number of revisions and delays, the Wealth of Nations was finally published in 1776 to much acclaim. In 1778, was appointed Commissioner of Customs in Edinburgh. d. Edinburgh, 1790. [Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; Chambers Biographical Dictionary.] Publications: Articles upon Johnson’s Dictionary, and the general state of literature of Europe, in Nos 1 and 2 of the Edinburgh Review, 1755; The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1st ed. 1759, 2nd ed. 1761, 6th ed. 1790); Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1st ed. 1776, 2nd ed. 1778, 3rd ed. 1784, 4th ed. 1786, 5th ed. 1789, 9th 1799); Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1795); Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, Arms…by Adam Smith…reported by a Student in 1793, ed. Edwin Cannan (1896); Collected Works, ed. Dugald Stewart (1811-12)

Role
Economist and philosopher